Two Very Highly Recommended Wines from the North of Italy

Two Very Highly Recommended Wines from the North of Italy

GD Vajra Nebbiolo Langhe (DOC) 2018, 14.5%, €29.99
Searsons Wine Merchants, Baggot Street Wines, The Corkscrew, Clontarf Wines, Sweeneys D3, Ely Wine Store Maynooth, 

Mid ruby is the colour of this Langhe Nebbiolo. Vibrant aromas, fragrantly fruity and floral, invite you to explore further. The flavours are pristine, elegant dark and handsome fruit, cut with sweet spices and minerality, silky tannins, and there’s no shortage of acidity to make it a welcome guest at the table. The label promises elegance, pleasure and refinement; the contents deliver, in the most harmonious way. Very Highly Recommended.
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They say: Whenever possible, we pick this fruit in the early hours of each day. Maceration is long and very gentle, so to retain lift and energy to this wine. Variety is 100% Nebbiolo from young estate vineyards, ranging from 7 to 25 years of age.  Our Langhe DOC Nebbiolo ages for 8 to 14 months on average. It is a wide range, in order to respect the uniqueness of each vintage and patiently await for the optimal bottling time. Most of the ageing is carried in stainless-steel vats, with a minor fraction of the wine being in neutral oak only when needed.

GD Vajra have been farming organically since 1971 but they didn’t get off to the best of starts. Giuseppe, during an April online masterclass, said he was dragged away from his soccer games (he was playing too much of it - well he was just 15) to plant his first vineyard. 

He and his current team are still youthful and he is proud of their work. “We hope we get wiser as we go on. We started organically and our first vintage in 1972 was not a good one, not worth ageing!” The whole extended family are at work here in this “multicultural team” near the village of Barolo. Perhaps, that first vintage was a disappointment but there have been many good ones since including this 2018.

As you know, Nebbiolo is the grape from which the famous Barolo is made and GD Vajra have some gems, quite a few available via Liberty Wines (who supply the stockists listed above). During the masterclass on the outstanding 2016 vintage, Giuseppe spoke eloquently. 

Then a tough question: “Which is your best cru from 2016?” Very hard for Giuseppe to answer as they had invested so much hard work into each. He didn’t really want to pick one but, under gentle pressure, went for the Barolo Bricco delle Viole for “its flair and elegance”. So there’s a nice tip for you. And I’d safely say the 2016 vintage of our Nebbiolo Langhe would also be one to snap up if you come across it.

The Langhe is a hilly subregion in the province of Piemonte.

Pieropan Soave (DOC) Classico 2019, 12%, €16.99

Jus de Vine, Grapevine, James Redmond and Sons Ltd, Kelly`s Off Licence, 
McHughs Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd, Martins Off Licence, 64 Wine, C Morton & Son Ltd, Clontarf Wines, Ely Wine Store, Maynooth, The Corkscrew

In the 1960s, Soave wine came from the Classico region. But the economic boom of the 70s, saw Soave (like Chianti) expand beyond the original area. And it proved a disaster. 

During a recent Liberty Wines organised online masterclass, Andrea Pieropan explained: “The DO expanded into the flat area where the yields were higher, the season shorter and there was less personality in the wines.” He explained that no area in Italy has such a difference between the Classico and the surrounds.

So, quantity reigned and quality was hard to find. Soave became something of a dirty word. Many avoided the wine but, according to Vino Italiano, that meant “missing out on the elegant floral whites of Leonildo Pieropan whose Soaves show off the plump mouth-filling character of ripe Garganega.”

Today’s Soave is usually fresh and expressive and that is certainly the case with this Classico, the freshest youngest wine in the Pieropan family range. It is 85% Garganega with Trebbiano contributing the balance.

The nose is delicate and elegant, with pleasant floral notes. Plump and mouth-filling certainly, terrific depth of fruit and a lively acidity, persistent finish. Excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Suggested pairings include soups, starters, especially vegetable based such as asparagus, peas, courgette, egg-based dishes or seafood and fresh water fish dishes. It is an excellent aperitif, especially when served with simple canap├ęs. Serve at 12°C.

Soave is perhaps the most famous Italian white wine DOC. You'll find it in the Veneto wine region of northeastern Italy.


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