choose your destiny

martedì 7 maggio 2013

The colours of Vajra, and an unexpected Barbera d'Alba Superiore 2009.

Above, side by side, the soft colours of Nebbiolo (left) against the intensely dark purple  Barbera (right)

I had a brief stop and chat with Giuseppe Vaira in New York City last week and I managed to sample a couple of his wines right after he rushed out the door in typical New York Fashion.  Having the night off, I actually brought these two bottles home with me: a 2008 Barolo Albe, and a 2009 Barbera d'Alba Superiore.  The pleasant Barolo Albe coming from three vineyards, Le coste, Fossati and La Volta is usually a leaner, approachable style of Barolo but still with those traditional Nebbiolo notes you love.

I poured some of the Barbera Superiore into my glass and my only immediate reaction was a "Holy shit!''.  This is definitely a bold and intense expression of Barbera which seems to coat your mouth in a syrupy fashion. This Barbera is not playing games, just kicking asses and taking names. I have tasted many of the these wines on different occasions, but the 2009 Barbera in my glass seemed to be showing outside of the Vajra style I was used to.  Giuseppe was already flying back to his new daughter, so I threw an E-mail to his sister Francesca Vaira, who I happened to meet two years ago in Rome

Francesca explains that the Barbera d'Alba Superiore starts with the vineyard, the criteria being the vines that work the hardest to produce the best fruit.  The vines are either coming from the oldest vineyards or those from the poorest soils.  This selection produces natural yields year after year. 2009 was also a hot and dry year preceded by a very snowy winter, an ideal condition for the correct development of the vines.

''Denso sì,  di una densità dovuta all’annata e alle viti, 
non certo alla lavorazione in cantina.''

The most important thing to note is that this very concentrated and ripe Barbera is an expression of the selected vineyards and vintage, and not that of the work/vinification techniques used in the cellars.

Thank you Giuseppe and Francesca, always a pleasure to taste and learn about the wines of Vajra.


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