Above: The good news is that it looks like Vajra’s wines will be coming to Texas soon.
So many questions, so little time…
When Mr. Franco Ziliani took Tracie P and me to taste with Aldo Vajra back in February at the winery, I neglected to ask Aldo what the “Albe” in his “Barolo Albe” denoted.
Luckily, we got a chance last week to sit down with Aldo’s son Giuseppe here in Austin. (I’d never met Giuseppe before but I felt like I knew him already: his face and his family were familiar to me, however virtually, through the excellent blog of David McDuff, whose palate and writing I admire immensely and whose taste in music and Nebbiolo are unsurpassed.)
The designation “Albe,” he explained, is simple: it’s the plural of the Italian alba, which in this context, means dawn.
“You see, our Barolo Albe is a traditional-style Barolo made from fruit sourced from three different vineyards,” Giuseppe told us, “Fossati, Le Coste, and La Volta. When the sun rises in the morning, it takes about 20 minutes for the sunlight [dawn] to reach each vineyard. So, there are three different albe [dawns].”
I’ve tasted the 2005 Barolo Albe by Vajra on three different occasions this year, and, man, it just keeps getting better and better. As much as I love their flagship Barolo — the single-vineyard Bricco delle Viole — it’s always the blended Barolo that keeps calling me back. At each occasion, I’ve found that signature freshness and drinkability that Vajra magically seems to capture in the bottle (a quality due, no doubt, to meticulous, gentle vineyard management and an honesty in the cellar).
@David, btw, would love to hear your recent notes on this wine.
Above: The Vajra family begin bottling the historic Baudana wines in 2009 with the 2005 vintage.
We also re-tasted the 2005 Barolo by Baudana, which the Vajra family began bottling for the iconic Langa family in 2009. I can’t say that I am a big fan of the 2005: its woody notes are a turn-off for me. Giuseppe did tell me that for the 2006 vintage, the barrique is toned down. And he added that we’ll see great things from these historic vineyards in vintages to follow (where he plays a greater role in the aging regimen).
As an indication of the greatness and potential of these historic vineyards in Serralunga (Baudana and Cerretta), Giuseppe also pointed to Mr. Franco Ziliani’s recent post on the 1982 Franco Fiorina Barolo, which was sourced in part from Baudana (I translated Mr. Ziliani’s post for VinoWire).
In all honesty, I’m not such a fan of the wine as it is right now. But I do believe that its future in the hands of Giuseppe and his father Aldo has immense potential to become one of the great icons of Langa. Stay tuned…
And let’s keep our fingers crossed that Vajra wines make it to Texas this fall! I don’t know how much longer Tracie P and I can survive without super-old-school Vajra Moscato d’Asti!
Thanks for reading!