Aldo Vaira's wines are characterised by pristine flavours and clearly defined perfumes. These characters are attributable to the position of his vineyards at about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne in the commune of Barolo. G.D. Vajra was established in 1972 and named after Aldo's father, Giuseppe Domenico Vajra. Aldo has been gradually increasing the area under vine to 60 hectares, of which 10 are Nebbiolo for Barolo, located in such strategic spots as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne. A traditionalist, Aldo adheres to old-style winemaking methods, though blends these with new techniques, such as temperature controlled fermentation, to produce such superbly elegant wines.
The grapes were grown in six different vineyards from three different areas. Four vineyards are in Barolo, on chalky, Tortonian soils, facing either south-east or south-west, with vines planted between 1968 and 2004. Here the chalky soil results in delicately aromatic wines, with high acidity and red berry characters. The two vineyards planted in Novello and Sinio are on Helvetian soils, giving wines with ripe, black fruit characters, balsam and minerality, with firmer tannins. The Novello vineyard, called Piedicucche, produces the fleshiest wines whereas the Bertone vineyard, in Sinio, gives wines with the darkest, most graphite aromas.
2016 saw a hot and dry summer in Piemonte. A cool spring with some rainfall was followed by a hot June and July. Large shifts between day and night time temperatures throughout August helped to balance grape ripening and produce healthy, ripe grapes with refreshing acidity.
The Barbera grapes were harvested in the second half of September. Vineyards and blocks were picked separately in multiple stages. Once at the winery, bunches were selected on sorting tables, and again after destemming. Fermentation lasted 15-20 days in vertical vats, with gentle punch-down and pump-overs, at a temperature below 31°C. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation followed. The wine was then aged for 12-16 months mostly in stainless-steel tanks and no more than 10% in oak barrels.
A violet red colour alludes to the sweet dark fruits, giving this wine a refined elegance. Powerful and rich on the nose, it is concentrated and smooth: rich and fruity while leaving room for hay, tobacco and spices. On the palate, black fruits are layered with mineral graphite notes.