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All Roads Lead to Vajra: A Quest for Pure Langhe Nebbiolo

Sometimes it’s worth paying attention to what winemakers say about their wines. Here is Giuseppe Vajra about their Langhe Nebbiolo: “This wine is our quest for the innocence of Nebbiolo, its purest expression.”

This is a remarkable statement from Vajra. His Barolo is known for, more than anything else, its purity. Vajra makes Barolo so airy that it seems to float, its essence of Nebbiolo wafting from the glass and seeping across your palate like mist.

And now Giuseppe issues a challenge by declaring that his Nebbiolo Langhe is an even more “pure” expression of Nebbiolo! And innocent too!

This is not marketing nonsense. It’s a reflection of how the Piedmontese understand their wines – a conception that is very similar to what you find in Burgundy and many other European wine regions. The idea is that the Grand wines — Cru Barolo, or 1er Cru Vosne-Romanée —express singular terroir. But to get to the Nebbiolo grape — the grape variety itself — you need to dumb things down: use younger vines, age it more in steel rather than wooden casks, and so on. You produce humble Nebbiolo Langhe, and it is so pure, so good, so Nebbiolo.

Giuseppe Vajra understands this, and he knows how to deliver. Their winemaking has such a light touch that everything comes across as pure, and with the Langhe Nebbiolo — grown from vines right near their house in the high hills of Barolo’s far west — it is the purity of Nebbiolo itself that arrives in the glass.

2019 is a fabulous Piedmont vintage, the next in a series of greats that has arrived every third year for 20 years now (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016….). Vajra offers us one of the first chances to start enjoying, by showing us exactly what the Nebbiolo grape is like when vintage conditions are perfect. Pricing is fabulous:.

G.D. Vajra, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2019