G.D. Vajra Moscato d'Asti 2016
The Vajra family has farmed Bricco delle Viole, the highest cru in Comune di Barolo, since the 1880s. At the young age of fifteen, Aldo Vajra embraced the dream to revive his family legacy. Displaying a vision and commitment belying his young age he took over the estate in 1968, turning a new page.
Aldo soon acquired the first organic certification of the region (1971), created private biotype selections (selezioni massali) of Nebbiolo and Dolcetto, pioneered the renaissance of Freisa, a noble yet forgotten local grape (1980) and the cultivation of Rhine Riesling in Piemonte (1985).
Today, the Vajra family continues the vineyard research focusing on the influence of soil and climate change. The winery is trail-blazing the rediscovery of Chiaretto di Nebbiolo and the wines of the 17th century – long before Barolo was created - through two limited-production wines: “N.S. della Neve” (a champagne-method rosé nature) and “Claré JC”, a partial whole-cluster fermentation of pure Nebbiolo.
High elevation vineyards are a unique factor to the Vajra wines, for their ability to express finesse and remarkable complexity over power.
Attention to details and humility towards the nature, uncompromised efforts and humanity: so are Aldo and Milena, now joined by their energetic children Giuseppe, Francesca and Isidoro, and by an amazing team of young professionals, in their quest for an authentic expression of their land into the wines. G.D. Vajra is an independent winery, entirely family-owned.
Recognized as the source of the best Barbera in all of Italy, Asti is a province (as well as major city) in Piedmont, consisting of a gentle, rolling landscape with vineyards, farmland and forests alternating throughout.
Barbera d’Asti can be made in an array of styles from relatively straightforward, fruity and ready for consumption early, to the more concentrated, oak aged version with an ability to cellar impressively for 10-15 years and beyond. Some of the very best sites for Barbera in Asti are concentrated in the subzone of Nizza Monferrato. Other red varieties grown here include Freisa, Grignolino and Dolcetto, which can be bottled varietally or blended into Barbera.
Historically consumers commonly associated the Asti region with Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti, both playful, aromatic, sparkling wines made from the Muscat grape. Asti Spumante is less sweet, fully fizzy and more alcoholic (yet still clocking in at only around 9% alcohol) while Moscato d’Asti is sweeter, gently sparkling (“frizzante”) and closer to 5 or 6% alcohol. Each is produced in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh and fruity flavors of the grape, often including peach, apricot, lychee and rose petal. Asti is also the spot for the pink-hued Brachetto d'Acqui, a slightly sparkling wine ready to charm with its raspberry and rose flavors and aromas.
While Muscat comes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and even fortified, it's safe to say it is always alluringly aromatic and delightful. The two most important versions are the noble, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, making wines of considerable quality and Muscat of Alexandria, thought to be a progeny of the former. Somm Secret—Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing Muscat.