2016 G.D. Vajra, Barolo DOCG “Albe” Piedmonte, Italy.
This is a fabulous vintage to stock up on for Barolo, and for an outstanding value this G.D. Vajra Albe is a top choice, it is drinking absolutely delicious with fantastic purity of flavors, showing classic Nebbiolo presence in the glass, but with the grace of a fine Pinot Noir. Giuseppe Vajra, who took over the winemaking from his legendary father Aldo in 2008, has become one of the best in the region with a stunning collection of Cru Barolo and an excellent set of regional wines that includes one of the best dry Rieslings outside of Alsace and Germany, along with a brilliant Dolcetto that comes from two awesome Barolo sites, an age worthy Barbera Superiore, the exotic Kye Freisa and two lovely easy to love Langhe Nebbiolo bottlings that are made to be enjoyed young. This beautiful Albe Barolo starts with its bright ruby and dark brick hue and expressive aromatics with dark berries, rose petals, tar and wild minty herbs before leading to a nicely structured medium to full bodied palate with good fruit density, velvety tannins and fine length. There is a wide array of expansive elements that unfold in clear detail including Italian cherry, damson plum, briar laced raspberry, balsamic strawberry and tart currant fruits along with earthy notes, anise, mineral and a light sense of cedar. This is a polished and luxurious Barolo that always way over delivers for the price on offer here, especially in vintages like this 2016, which follows top efforts in 2010, 2011 and 2013. I love the 2016s a lot and think it will go down as a legendary year for both enthusiasts and patient collectors, there’s sublime depth and a seductive opulence even in the youthful stage these wines are in.

The Vajra wines are outstanding, especially his latest set of Baroli, the four from his family estate, Bricco Delle Viole, Coste di Rose, Ravera and this Albe, plus the three he does under the Luigi Baudana label. These Nebbiolo offerings are regal and wonderfully balanced, each showing the unique nature of the terroirs where each is sourced, capturing the essence of the pace to perfection.The Albe Barolo is the blend of high-elevation Barolo DOCG Cru vineyard sites with different hillside parcels set on various slopes with different exposures that allow for ripe fruit and good natural acidity, all are high quality and organic vines which have sandy soils over clay and limestone marls. Giuseppe’s vinification of his Albe Barolo was carried in custom vertical tini fermentors with gentle punch down and cap pump-overs, seeing a long cool maceration period that lasts up to four months. After which this wine sees a spontaneous malolactic fermentation in stainless steel vats before aged for 18 months in large Slavonian oak casks of various sizes with only one gentle racking before its final blending and being bottled. It should also be noted that Aldo Vajra, back in 1971, was one of the earliest to promote organic farming in Piemonte, a tradition that continues today with a passion and the Vajra family has employed a holistic approach throughout their holdings and intensely monitor the environment to improve the quality of the grapes and proven these ideas and methods are the successful path forward, with wines like this highlighting this point. If you are looking for exceptional Nebbiolo enjoyment this is a label to search out, I’m a committed fan of the wines here and the people behind them, I can’t recommend this wines high enough!
($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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