2015 G.D. Vajra, Barolo, Bricco delle Viole, Piedmonte, Italy.
One of Italian’s treasures, the Vajra Bricco delle Viole Barolo is fast becoming a must have wine for Nebbiolo enthusiasts and while everyone is hyper focused on the 2016 vintage offers, you would be rewarded by not missing this gorgeous 2015 version, which lacks for nothing in the big league of top Barolo bottlings! I was first introduced to the Bricco delle Viole with Giuseppe Vajra’s break out vintage in 2008 and I have been a huge fan ever since, this wine and winery have blown up and are crafting a thrilling collection of offerings, they are rocking it, with a range that goes from maybe Italy’s best Riesling to this glorious Barolo, along with an intriguing Freisa, stellar Barbara and Dolcetto as well as other regional gems. Giuseppe Vajra’s rise as a winemaker might not be a surprise considering the talents of his visionary father Aldo, but it has been incredible to watch and see the Vajra family get the attention and praise they deserve with their hard work and humble personalities. The 2015 Bricco delle Viole is luxurious and has Burgundy like grace on the palate enjoying its plush and youthful fruit, but underneath there is classic structure and character with pure Nebbiolo seduction flowing across the full bodied palate with deep red berry, plum and black cherry fruit along with flashes of mulberry and strawberry as well as a subtle meatiness, anise, chalky stones, cedar and delicate rose petals. This wine, which is already drinking fabulous should continue to grown in dimension and add layers, if you can’t wait you’ll find it ever changing in the glass and certainly I would suggest building and evening and meal around exploring it.

The Bricco delle Viole, the hill of violets, is an iconic wine and sets the tone for understanding the Vajra’s wines with Giuseppe’s dad Aldo famously saying the Bricco delle Viole is the vineyard that taught us patience and naturally guided the style of our craft and it starts with its terroir which is at what is thought to be the highest elevation site in Barolo at close to 480 meters above sea level with perfect exposures and underpinned by the region’s limestone, sand and clay soils and dramatic diuturnal temperature changes that allow for deep ripening and vibrant acidity. The Bricco delle Viole, first planted in 1949, was thought to be too cold for Barolo, but that was proved silly and its legend keeps growing, and Aldo was one of the first in Piedmonte to embrace serious organic and holistic practices which has also been seen as the way of the future for ultra quality in the region. The Bricco delle Viole is one of the last sites to be picked in Barolo and this long hang time really elevates this wine with incredible depth and there is always a Grand Cru Core d’Or feel here with a sense of minerallity and finesse. Vajra is traditional in the winemaking, taking great care in the vineyard and it the cellars with each cluster being rigorously sorts and individually berry de-stemming before a lengthy maceration and gentle handling of the wine through primary fermentation. The top Vajra Barolo sees close to 42 months in large Slavonian casks, mostly 25 and 50 hectoliters to allow this fantastic Nebbiolo to fully develop all of its beauty and stunning nuances. If this 2015 is this good, just wow, I can’t imagine what the 2016 will show! Sadly, this year I missed seeing Giuseppe Vajra at the Slow Wine in San Francisco show with Covid playing havoc with travel and trade shows, but I am always grateful for being able to try his wines, these are too good to miss!
($80 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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