Aldo and Milena Vaira established G.D.Vajra in 1972 with some of the best vineyards in the Langhe. In total they own 25 hectares of vines with a further 10 hectares contracted for their production. They produce on average 100,000 bottles a year. Aldo Vajra and his children Giuseppe, Francesca and Isidoro aim to make wines that express the terroir of their vineyards, which are located in the Vergne zone of Barolo. The wines reflect their maker’s highly individual and personal style, they exhibit great nuance, elegance, and understatement, just like the man himself.
In the 1980s newlyweds Milena and Aldo were already cultivating a little area of Ravera planted to 100% Nebbiolo. This wine is the expression of a wait lasting more than 10 years, allowing the vines to mature and the wines to gain the right structure. It’s the sunniest, most silent and beautiful amphitheatre of the area. Ravera sits at an average elevation of 360 metres and is situated at the confluence of two different geological matrices. Over millions of years the layers were superimposed, creating a rather fragile soil subject to erosion, but with enormous potential. It is predominantly Sant’Agata fossil marl, interspersed with sand deposits rich in iron. This undergoes a lengthy period of maceration, perhaps up to 45 days, including a short stint with submerged cap. Malolactic conversion takes place in steel in the spring following the harvest. It is aged for 30 months in 30hL Slavonian oak casks before bottling.
A stark contrast to the Bricco delle Viole, Vajra's 2014 Barolo Ravera is a tannic, powerful wine. There is quite a bit of power and depth, but the tannins are also rustic and a touch rough around the edges. The 2014 is going to need time to settle down. It will be interesting to see if bottle age adds polish, but today, the Ravera is a brute. Tasted: February 2018; Rating: 93 points; Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
G D Vajra has a bit of the Ravera vineyard located just above Elvio Cogno. This estate used the fruit to make its Langhe Nebbiolo, but as the vines grew into their prime production years, G D Vajra decided to make a Barolo with the fruit instead, starting in 2010. The plot is only half a hectare in size and the vines range in age from 18 to 45 years old. The soils are rich in minerals and iron. The 2014 Barolo Ravera is indeed a fuller and more structured expression. The bouquet opens to dark fruit, iodine and mineral nuances. Ravera is a low-altitude vineyard from an estate that is specialised in high-altitude Nebbiolo farming. That added power is well suited to this thinner vintage. Rating: 93 Points; Monica Larner; Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
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