2017 G.D. Vajra, Dolcetto d’Alba “Coste & Fossati” Piedmonte, Italy.
The dark and fruit filled 2017 G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto is a delicious wine, we are far from the days when Dolcetto was consider a rough peasant wine, especially when planted in Cru sites and hand crafted by a hugely talented winemaker like Giuseppe Vajra, and this vintage shows remarkably well in the glass with sharp fresh detail, depth of flavors and all without being a loud or flashy wine. There is a bright intensity and it goes fabulous with rustic and or simple country cuisine, it has plenty of fruit and vibrant acidity to form an exciting structure and its deep purple/garnet color is very inviting and sets up the senses for the joy to come. The nose brings a bouquet of cut violets, wild herbs and crushed blackberries which leads to a medium bodied palate that flows seamlessly with briar laced vine berry, plum, black currant and tangy cranberry with vivid accents of anise, mineral, spearmint, amaro/herbs and kirsch. The tannins are mild, letting the Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba be enjoyed anytime and any place and faint earthy elements add a layer of soulful personality in this very fine and balanced Italian red. I love this version of Dolcetto, a varietal that I have a special soft spot for, the very first case of wine I ever bought was a box of Dolcetto d’Alba, which I loved with family meals and enjoyed at beach parties and picnics. One night, at a traditional old school family trattoria, I was introduced to Dolcetto with a mix of homemade pasta, sausages, wild mushrooms and many side dishes and it was at that moment I began to understand Italian wine’s purpose and I’ve been a devotee ever since!

Vajra’s Dolcetto d’Alba Coste&Fossati is a collection of antique Dolcetto clones that was collected and cultivated by Giuseppe’s father Aldo Vajra between 1979 and 1985, after care selections were identified the best cuttings were grafted in two of the estate’s great Barolo vineyards, Coste di Vergne and Fossati, where these vines thrived and produce an exceptional example of this classic Piedmonte grape. Aldo was ahead of his time, he started farming holistically back in 1971 making his winery sustainably certified very early on and has be fully organic certified since 2019. The Crus where this wine is sourced are set on Barolo’s white Marl, limestone and clay soils with a smattering of sandy topsoil and interestingly, Vajra’s blocks are at high elevation and later pick dates are common adding to the development of flavors, while the cool nights keep loads of vital acidity. To show this wine in its purest form the fermentation and aging happens exclusively in stainless steel, with a vinification lasting 15-20 days in custom upright vats designed for Vajra, at free, but cool temperatures with gentle punch-downs and pump-overs to rinse the cap. Vajra then let the Dolcetto go through spontaneous malolactic fermentation and the wine was allowed the wine rest for 7 or 8 months before bottling. The current collection of Vajra’s wines are all outstanding with some noticeable stand outs, including the set of Barolo offerings from 2015 and their awesome dry Riesling, one of the best in Italy, but don’t miss the more value priced stuff with the Langhe Nebbiolo and this one being top tasty choices to stock up on!
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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