G.D. Vajra Italian wines by Ian Brosnan

G.D. Vajra

This estate was established in 1972, by Aldo Vajra’s father, Giuseppe Domenico. The vineyards had been in the family since the 1920s, but it was only with the advent
of the D.O.C. and the increase in interest for Barolo in the early 1970s, that viticulture became economically viable. Aldo has gradually increased the area under vine to the current 40 hectares, ten of which are planted with Nebbiolo for his Barolo, located in such prized vineyards as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne.
The vineyards are situated about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne, in the commune of Barolo, on the western border of the zone. Vajra’s vineyards ripen later than many others in the zone, with the result that his Barolos have always been quite distinctive: wines with fresh and lifted aromas, showing a judicious acidity that balances the generous fruit to give a lively and crisp style.

Aldo’s son Giuseppe was in ely winebar to host a tasting dinner, pairing their exceptional wines to our wonderful food!
We kicked things off with their unique Langhe Bianco ‘Petracine’ , an old Latin name for Riesling. A pale lemon colour, it had a wonderfully zesty perfume, crisp apple and lemon fruit and a long clean finish. A perfect way to begin any evening!

First of the reds was the Dolcetto, a grape Giuseppe suggested is often considered an ugly duckling in Piedmonte but he likes to think of it as a moody teenager- it needs constant attention and showering with love in order to fulfil its potential. This one certainly did – it possessed a wonderful depth of colour, a fragrance of blue and black berries and a herbal hint on the finish.

The Barbera grapes are sourced from 6 vineyards; in 3 areas on 2 different soil types, and it is the blend of these that gives this wine it exceptional balance. Fresh berry and black cherry on the nose, the palate is ripe with crisp acidity and elegant tannins. Both wines were tasted alongside a first course of rose Veal meatballs, tomato broth and gremolata. The room was split over which worked better, but at a push, I’d have to choose the Dolcetto (it might be the moody teenager in me!).

Then the main event – the ‘Le Albe’ and ‘Bricco delle Viole’ Barolos. The 2007 ‘Le Albe’ was unquestionably the ely staff pick of the night – yes, we all have to try them after work- and quite honestly one of the best value Barolos I have tasted in a long time. While 2007 may seem young for Barolo, the ‘Le Albe’ had a ruby-garnet colour and a wonderfully exotic nose of dried plums, cherries and floral notes. The palate showed typical Nebbiolo characteristics- excellent acidity and fine but persistent tannins- coupled with a rich, fleshy texture. More than simply accessible, this wine is extremely enjoyable now but no doubt has a long and bright future ahead.
The ‘Bricco delle Viole’ vineyard is the jewel in the crown of the Vajra properties, situated 400 metres above sea level in the commune of Barolo and with many of the vines over 50 years old. The altitude and long ripening period gives the wine an aromatic complexity and ripeness not often found in Barolo. We were fortunate enough to have the 2003; showing a beautiful garnet colour and a complex nose of violets, rose, orange peel and dark cherry. The finely grained tannins, wonderful purity and depth of flavour, and impeccable balance are all hallmarks of this superb wine. Both wines were paired with roast breast of Barbary Duck, potato and truffle terrine, samphire and Madeira jus.
And then came the surprise of the evening- Vajra Moscato d’asti. Light, effervescent and wonderfully fruity, this is one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever tasted. Passion fruit on the nose, clean sweetness on the palate, and, at only 5.5% alcohol, no limit to how many glasses you can have. While we tasted it with orange blossom pannacotta, it could just as easily be enjoyed on its own, the perfect end to a remarkable meal.

Our thanks to Giuseppe Vajra and Ben Reynolds (Liberty Wines) from  for all their help.

Visit us at elywinebar.com

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Great summer wine suggestions: reds, whites, rose and sparkling

Wondering which wines to drink during the summer months? ely has all the tips….

WHITES

Grape variety: Picpoul

  • Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Feline Jourdan, Languedoc-Roussillon 2010
    Coming from the warm Mediterranean coast of the Languedoc Roussillon in Southern France, it is mouthwateringly refreshing with zesty lemons, Granny Smith apples and a rich creamy finish. Traditionally in Southern France Picpoul  is drunk with oysters and we can’t think of a better match.

 Grape variety: Chenin Blanc

  • Touraine, Domaine de la Renaudie, Loire 2009
    Chenin Blanc comes in all forms, taste and sizes. Domaine de la Renandie’s  has ‘aromas of grapefruit, lime and honey. A very fine palate with plenty of freshness and minerality’. From the Loire Valley, more famous now for Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc is more widely planted and renowned for it’s racy acidity and crisp apple freshness. A must try this summer.

Grape variety: Chardonnay

  • Macon Solutre, Domaine Gerbeaux ‘Les Clos’ 2010
    This absolutely delicious wine is perfect for those who don’t like Chardonnay and those who love it. The 2010 vintage is rated as outstanding and we are delighted to be able to share with you one of the best on the market. Completely unoaked it is crisp and racy with excellent minerality. If you normally drink Sauvignon, try this and surprise yourself!

 Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon

  • Pessac-Leognan, Château le Sartre Blanc, Bordeaux 2009
    Made from the classic Bordeaux white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon this wine has both the bright zesty flavours of Sauvignon and the richness of the Semillon. It spends some time aging in barrels which adds savoury tones to this classic wine. Decanter magazine has described this as ‘delicious’ and Wine Spectator has described it as ‘delicious and generous’. We think it’s stunning!

 REDS

 

Grape variety: Syrah / Grenache / Carignan / Mourvedre

  • Côtes du Luberon, Domaine de la Citadelle ‘Le Chataignier’, Rhone 2009
    Made from the typical Southern Rhone blend, La Chataignier ‘Cotes du Luberon’ never disappoints. It’s absolutely brimming with aromas of strawberries, raspberries and plums and yummy liquorice tones. If you like Côtes du Rhône, you’ll love Côtes du Luberon!

 Grape variety: Tempranillo

  • Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Vina Alberdi, Spain 2005
    Vina Alberdi is one of ely’s best selling wine and for good reason. It’s a classic Rioja with a contemporary feel. Intense aromas of wild strawberries, sweet raspberries, cinnamon, coconut and vanilla. Medium bodied and spicy with elegent tannins, this an excellent accompaniment to ely’s meat platters.

Grape variety: Gamay

  • Fleurie, Domaine des Nugues, Beaujolais 2008
    Fleurie is one of the most famous of all Beaujolais and for good reason. Still light enough that you can dunk it in an ice bucket to chill it down, but with lots of bright summer fruits, earthy nuances, refreshing acidity and soft tannins that make it a great with beef carpaccio or soft , ripe gooey cheeses

 Grape variety: Pinot Noir

  • Morey-St-Denis, Domaine Lombeline, Burgundy 2007
    From the Cotes du Nuits in Burgundy, Morey-St-Denis is one of the key villages in Burgundy. We have sourced a deliciously summery one with, light, fresh and juicy with aromas of marascha cherries, spices and delicate herbaceous tones. Delicious served slightly chilled and perfect with charcuterie.

ROSÉ

Grape variety: Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc

  • Bordeaux,  Chateau Du Seuil, France 2008
    Cherry pink in colour this Bordeaux Rosé is exactly what you want to hit the spot – absolutely brimming with raspberries, cherries and strawberries with hints of peaches and bananas. Dry with a tiny hint of sweetness and a rich mouthfeel, this is delicious by itself of with a fresh summer salad.

Grape variety: Cinsault / Grenache / Mourvedre

  • Faugeres, Domaine la Sarabande, France 2010
    A great new addition from Domaine La Sarabande, an award-winning winery in Faugeres, Southern France. Fresh, fruity and salmon pink in colour, it has vibrant flavours of red cherries and strawberries, lively acidity and a long finish. It’s our new favourite rosé.

SPARKLING

Grape variety: Muscat Gordo / Black Muscat

  • Pink Moscato, Innocent Bystander, Australia 2010 (1/2 bottle)
    Fizzy, pink and slightly sweet this is the ultimate summer drink. It has delicious fruit flavours of strawberry, mandarin, rhubarb, pear and pink grapefruit. There’s no better way to drink this than on the waterside terrace with a selection of ely’s homemade icecreams and sorbets. Yummy!

Grape variety: Prosecco

  • Prosecco, Le Contesse, Italy NV
    Our prosecco is one of the nicest, if not the nicest prosecco you will ever taste. From the Veronese hills this aromas of fresh Golden Delicious apples, pears and a distinctly peachy finish. There’s only one problem with it – it’s very more-ish.

Grape variety: Pinot Noir / Chardonnay / Pinot Meunier

  • Champagne, Domaine Dravigny-Godillon ‘Cuvee Ambre’, France NV
    Coming from the heartland of the quality Champagne area, Domaine Dravigny-Godillon is one of the few Champagne houses, alongside Bollinger and only a few others, to still make the traditional biscuity, yeasty Champagne style. They are a small family run winery and sell their wines only to the restaurants of Paris, Ireland and Denmark. Light and refined, it has delicate aromas of fresh strawberries and peaches with lively bubbles and fantastic freshness.

WANT TO SAMPLE ANY (OR ALL) OF THE ABOVE?  all the wines listed above are included in our summer wine selection available at all 3 ely venues.

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