2010 G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso

Hello friends. Our offering of G.D. Vajra Barolo a month ago was a hit. We sold every single bottle allotted to us, and I’ve been zeroing out reorder requests in recent weeks. Several of our more astute readers noticed a line in that offering – “One of our wholesale partners has picked up the Vajra reins and will be direct-importing the portfolio into Seattle, and we’ll have access to several of the cherries…” – and have been inquiring about when we would see the next of the cherries.

Inquire no longer. Today is the day:

This is the entry-level bottling from Vajra, a joyous little concoction that is a total gateway drug into the greater Vajra lineup, and more generally into the red wines of the Piedmont. It’s the second Langhe Rosso we have offered. The first one (2011 Le Cantine di Indie Vino Rosso del Popolo) has been a frequent reorder target, which pleases me no end. The whole Langhe Rosso category is full of gems, if you can pry them away from the Italian countryside.

As I mentioned in that first Langhe Rosso offering, this is not a category that shows up too frequently outside of, well, the Langhe itself. We get plenty of exports of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto, bottled varietally. But the declassified blends of the three grapes, the ones that are vinified unfussily and well-loved by the locals for their food-friendly rusticity and early-drinking character and easy-on-the-wallet price? Those stay home. Mostly.

This version from Vajra ramps up the complexity, because along with the big three varieties mentioned above, it also contains Freisa and Pinot Nero. It starts with a nose of pie cherry, orange peel, and leafy tea notes. The palate has just the right amount of earthiness and mineral tang to balance the soft cherry fruit. There’s some tannic chew on the back end, likely from whatever Nebbiolo is in the mix, but it’s not nearly as hard as a young Barolo or Barbaresco, or even a young Langhe Nebbiolo. Instead, this is balanced, generous, beautifully approachable.

Some quick reminders on Vajra. This is the producer that Galloni heaps praise on (Wine Advocate | Antonio Galloni): “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

This is the producer that sadly disappeared from the Seattle market for several years. And this is the producer that’s now back, courtesy of our direct-import partners (that direct-import model also allows us to shave a few dollars off the normal release price of $16). Like the Barolo, this was another highlight of the sneak-preview tasting in June that happened while these parcels were still on the water. I loved this enough to lock up a sizeable chunk, as I think this is a killer summer-into-autumn wine, an approachable weekday-evening choice that I suspect will be well loved once our list members get their hands on it.

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive at the warehouse in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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