G.D. Vajra Take On Vineyard Jewel

Luigi Baudana’s family have been growing grapes and making wine in the Barolo region Serralunga d’Alba for many generations, so many that he can’t recall. Obviously a long time, though, because the town he and his wife Fiorina still live in is named Baudana, as is one of its most famous vineyard sites, which he owned.

Having no children or heirs, Baudana recently sold his vineyards to the Vajra family, fellow Barolo winemakers who must be among the nicest and friendliest people in all of Italy. They have breathed new life into Luigi Baudana’s vineyards (pictured) and wines.

The Vajras, who make great Barolo (and other wines, notably a superb freisa named Kyè) on the opposite side of the region from Serralunga d’Alba, became the owners of Baudana’s two vineyards in January 2009 and have released splendid wines from that vintage. The vineyard ‘crus’ are Cerretta and Baudana. From my limited tastings, Cerretta is the finer, more elegant wine and Baudana is the more explosively powerful. They are equally great but different.

The Vajras are famous for their Barolo Bricco delle Viole. Several Australian winemakers including Stephen Pannell – who makes a pretty decent nebbiolo himself in the Adelaide Hills – have worked the vintage at the family winery, G.D. Vajra (tastings). Following in the footsteps of his highly respected father Aldo, eldest son Giuseppe is winemaker today. His sister Francesca and brother Isidoro also work in the business.

The picture (above) shows Giuseppe and Francesca with Luigi Baudana in the ’winery’, which is something of an exaggeration. It is an oversized broom cupboard with a few oak fermenters and steel tanks – made tall and skinny so they fit in. Giuseppe was only half-joking when he said that when he arrived, bottling was done by gravity and there was one pump, one press, and three electric lights.

Giuseppe is gradually decreasing the influence of oak in the wines, but hastens to add that he feels very privileged that G.D. Vajra was chosen to take on this rare jewel of a property. “We feel very humbled by the trust that Luigi and Fiorina have placed in us,” he said.

(G.D. Vajra wines are imported by Enoteca Sileno.) 

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