We love Piedmont at Press Wines. We visited this region as penniless 22 year old back packers back in 2009, drinking our weight in Barolo following the outrageous generosity of some local winemakers. We reconnected with some of those winemakers last week in Melbourne, during La Festa
As time goes by we will certainly offer some of the age-worthy Barolo and Barbaresco wines, though this introduction is a bright and youthful Langhe Nebbiolo, which relies on some younger vines and less time in new oak. It is the same grape as the prized Barolo, and most of the fruit is from within the Barolo commune, though it is a lighter and more energetic version. Think red fruit driven, Victorian Pinot Noir with loads more tannin and structure, some dried flowers and a hint of mushroom and herbs.
Energetic is also the word to describe the Vaira family, whom established G. D. Vajra in 1970. The estate now owns 25 hectares of vineyard in and around Barolo and is run and represented by second generation siblings Giuseppi, Isidoro and Francesca Vaira (not a spelling mistake). Giuseppi is the winemaker, after working alongside his father Aldo for many years and makes regular visits to Australia.
As mentioned, the Langhe Nebbiolo is from the younger vines and focuses on red fruit flavours (think raspberry and red cherry), florals and intense structure. It has the fruit, tannin, acid balance to age in to the mid 2020's. If you pick up six bottles of the 2017, it would be worthwhile opening one each year until 2025 to monitor the progress.
Drink this with pasta dishes with slow cooked ragu sauces, slow-cooked cuts of red meats (lamb shoulder) or mushroom based dishes.
And finally, here is a word from Decanter magazines Susan Hulme MW to back it up; "Vajra’s wines are lively and friendly, with just the right amount of ripe fruit and violet aromas held in check by a refined structure. Long and appealingly silky. This producer offers unbelievably good value and quality."