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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The wines of Alsace with Jean Trimbach – July 2nd 2012

Trimbach wine tasting at ely winebar

By Sommelier Ian Brosnan

Jean Trimbach was in ely winebar 22 Ely Place last night hosting an intimate wine tasting dinner in the new private dining room. Guest were treated to a selection for his finest wines from the classic Riesling up to the Cuvee Frederic Emile.
Standout wines from the evening included the aperitif- Muscat Reserve 2009 which was grapey, fragrant and fresh; the Riesling Reserve 2006 surprising even Jean himself – rich yet beautifully balanced despite coming from an admittedly difficult vintage. Of the two CFE Rieslings, 2005 was more forward and immediate, but for me the star was the 2004. Remarkably concentrated, yet, like all Trimbach wines, possessed with a seemingly inbuilt finesse and elegance.
The bright, minerally core gave way to fresh grapefruit and white peach on the palate, and superb length. And it has years ahead it. Last wine of the evening was the Gewurztraminer ‘Cuvee des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre’ 2001 which was wonderfully rich and perfumed, clearly gaining in complexity over the years yet showing no signs of getting old. The wines were tasted  over a dish of Organic Burren Suckling Pig with cider potatoes, celeriac and apple, and the dish brought out something different in each wine.  Our thanks to Jean for sharing in an evening of good conversation, great food and wonderful wines. And singing….. we must include the singing!

See below ely winebar upcoming wine tastings:

Red wines of Burgundy:  Thursday July 12th 
Burgundy can be the most complicated of all regions- despite using only one grape!
One of Ireland’s foremost Burgundy experts Charles Derrain will present a class on navigating the minefield that is Burgundian reds- covering winemakers, villages and vintages.
Where: ely bar & brasserie, IFSC @ 7pm
Cost €45 pay here dinner included

Australia- Thursday  July 26th 
No country in the ‘New World’ as embraced regionality more than Australia, and the result is a new generation of wines that express  distinctive,  characteristics. Along with John McDonnell of Wine Australia, we will compare(and contrast!) the great wine regions of Margaret River, Victoria and Barossa.
Where: ely bar & brasserie, IFSC @ 7pm
Cost €40 pay here dinner included
Germany & Austria-  Thursday August 9th 
Two of the most underappreciated wine making countries in Europe will be showing off their finest exports, Riesling and Gruner Veltliner. If you’re fan of serious white wines this is one you will not want to miss.
Where: ely bar & brasserie, IFSC @ 7pm
Cost €35 pay here dinner included

White wines of Italy: Thursday August 23rd 
Italy has recently become home to some of the most exciting white wines on the market, the majority of which come from relatively unknown native grapes like Falanghina, Greco, Trebbiano, Garganega, Cortese and many others. We will cover Italy north to south, looking at the best of these wonderfully diverse wines.
Where: ely bar & brasserie, IFSC @ 7pm
Cost €35 pay here dinner included

Winemakers Dinner-Barolo and wines of Piedmont  with Giuseppe Vajra… Thursday  September 6th 
Aldo Vajra is a traditionalist, saying that “traditional wines are more elegant, with more delicate perfumes and offering more pleasure at the table.”  His wines aim not for the power found in some Barolo, but for texture, a Burgundian intensity and a purity of flavour that makes them stand out in Barolo.  Join us for a tasting of these remarkable wines, which will be enjoyed-as they should be- over dinner.
Where: ely winebar 22 Ely Place @ 7pm
Cost €60 pay here dinner included

THE BIG TASTING: Friday Sept 28th
ely’s Big Tasting is back, and it’s bigger than ever- with over 100 wines from more than 15 countries, including classics from the old world, modern classics from the new, not to mention Champagnes, Ports, sherries and dessert wines. We will also feature artisan beers, Sheridans Cheesemongers, organic beef from our family farm, Monto’s handmade chocolates, artisan breads and more…

Where: ely bar & brasserie, IFSC – 2 sessions
Cost €25 pay here 6pm
Cost €25 pay here 8pm

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