Aldo Vajra’s (pronounced Vyra) 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.
This Dolcetto is named after the two vineyards where the grapes come from, Coste di Vergne and Fossati, both in the Commune of Barolo with high altitudes ranging from 420 to 480 metres.
Grapes were harvested by hand and transported in small crates to keep the grapes intact. The careful selection of grape clusters started in the vineyard and was carried out with the same attention all the way to the cellar. A soft fermentation of approximately 20 days and 8-12 months in the cellar preceded bottling.
A brilliant deep violet in the glass, this wine has aromas of black cherries & flowers, with notes of liquorice and menthol. The tannins are soft for a Dolcetto, but easily able to age with time. ‘Coste e Fossati’ is elegant, balanced and complex.
This splendid 10 hectare hillside estate is situated in the small town of Lessona, near Biella in northern Piemonte.
It passed into the De Marchi family through their relative, Felice Sperino, a passionate viticulturist and professor in Turin in the 19th century. Paolo De Marchi is the winemaker and owner of top Chianti Classico estate Isole e Olena, and he inherited Proprietà Sperino from his grandfather. Since the 1970’s, Paolo dreamt of revitalising the Sperino estate and in the last few years has realised his dream, together with his elder son, Luca.
70% Nebbiolo, 15% Vespolina and 15% Croatina.
The wines were vinified in the old, gravity-fed cellar which dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. Fermentation took place in squat, open upright oak casks. Maceration lasted 19 days with regular punching down of the cap. The wine was aged in a mixture of new and old barriques (225 litre), puncheons (500 litres) and 15 hectolitre casks for 18 months, nine of which were on the lees.
Vibrant ruby red, this youthful wine has perfumes full of rich cherry and plum fruit. The lifted palate is packed with attractive juicy fruit and is given great texture by the supple, approachable tannins. The finish is long and inviting.
The secret of the success of the Ca’ dei Frati property is the Dal Cero family’s outstanding vineyards. Back in 1987 they had 12 hectares of vineyard, but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 100 hectares. Their investment in their model winery has meant that the increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality, and today they are undoubtedly the best producer in Lugana.
All grapes are grown in Ca’ dei Frati’s own vineyards, which are located on the south banks of Lake Garda, near the town of Sirmione. The vines from which “Brolettino” is made (100% Turbiana) were planted in 1971, on clay soils.
Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before being transferred to small 225 litre barriques for 10 months. Malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place in a selected number of barrels. The wine was then aged in bottle for three months before release.
Pale golden in colour, this wine opens with aromas of stone fruits and a touch of vanilla spice from the oak ageing. The palate has rich peach characters, with a creamy, honeyed texture lifted by stony minerality. Intense and concentrated through to the fresh finish.
Capezzana, situated in the Carmignano zone to the west of Florence, is owned and run by the Contini Bonacossi family, the latest in a long line of owners dating back to 804. The estate now has 90 hectares of vineyard, all of which are cultivated organically.
The Carmignano region has a long history of using Cabernet Sauvignon in its wines and in 1975 it was the first DOC to be awarded official sanctioning for the use of Cabernet in its blends.
“Villa di Capezzana” is 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards sited between 150m – 250m above sea level with a southerly, south eastern and south western aspect.
Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 20 days at temperatures between 26-28°C. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation the wine was moved into French oak for malolactic fermentation. 70% of the wine was aged in 3.5 hectolitre tonneaux for 12 months and the remaining 30% in larger barrels for 16 months. The wine was then blended and bottled before a further 12 months ageing prior to release.
This wine is intense ruby red in colour with youthful highlights. On the nose, there are notes of almonds, violets and oranges which are intertwined with aromas of coffee and vanilla. It is a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity. The rounded tannins from the Sangiovese are lifted by the cassis concentration of the Cabernet on the long, concentrated finish.
Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large ‘botti’ and French oak barriques) for 18 months, lightly fined with egg-whites and then bottled.
Deep and intense on the nose with perfumes of dried cherries and blueberries, with notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful but modern, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.
Dating from 1888, the Poggi family’s wines combines traditional wooden casks with the very latest technology. Corte dei Castaldi is made with grapes from a selection of local growers, all dried in Poggi’s barns for 4 months (appassimento) and estate bottled.
Made from Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara.
Very dark in appearance with a nose full of dark fruits and hints of bitter chocolate. The full and rich palate has concentrated dark fruit flavours with a twist of dark chocolate and spice on the long finish.
Mauro Molino’s estate amounts to 12 hectares, half of which is planted with Nebbiolo for the production of top quality Barolo. The balance is divided between Barbera, Dolcetto and a smaller quantity,of Roero Arneis.
100% Nebbiolo from vines aged between 25 and 40 years grown on a south, southwest exposure.
The harvest took place mid-October followed by maceration on the skins for 9 days in steel tanks at controlled temperature. The alcoholic fermentation was also in steel tanks for 20 days with the malolactic fermentation and ageing being in French oak barriques for 24 months.
Garnet red in colour, the nose is rich and intense with the bouquet of ripe fruits. The palate is smooth with velvety tannins and long finish.
This property was purchased by Valpolicella producer Marilisa Allegrini in 2006. Marilisa has continued to invest heavily in the estate and has brought in winemaker Nicola Biasi to build on Poggio San Polo’s already considerable reputation and impressive levels of quality.
Situated in the eastern part of Montalcino, this estate covers 22 hectares of which 16 are under vine, and produces wines that are classic in style but with a bit more weight than would be found to the north of the zone.
Poggio San Polo`s Brunello vineyards cover approximately nine hectares planted between 1990 and 2000. They are situated at an altitude of 450 metres above sea level, facing south-southwest on chalky, clay soils.
The grapes (100% Sangiovese) were hand picked and after a gentle pressing, fermentation took place in temperature-controlled concrete tanks with temperatures reaching a maximum of 28-30°C, with a long maceration on the skins lasting 20-22 days. The wine was aged in new, medium-toasted, French oak tonneaux (500 litres) for a period of 24 months, followed by extended ageing in bottle before release.
An intense ruby red with garnet hues. The typical aromas of violets and small red berries are followed by hints of vanilla, cedar and coffee. On the palate it is full-bodied and warm with a densely-woven texture and robust tannins, while the finish is persistent and rounded.
The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations. All of Allegrini’s impeccable wines are produced from estate-grown fruit from these vineyards. Across the range and from vintage to vintage, they have superb fruit, balance, intensity, length, elegance, tipicity and, above all, drinkability.
The family`s southeast facing vineyards are located at 180-280 metres above sea level. The soils are varied, but mostly chalky, clayey and well-drained. The older vines are 30 years old on average.
The grapes were dried at `Terre di Fumane`, a state of the art drying centre with controlled temperature and humidity. By drying the grapes under these conditions, the development of botrytis was avoided and the integrity of the fruit preserved. During the drying period, the grapes lost 40-45% of their original weight. Vinification took place in the first two weeks of January. The dried grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless steel between 8-22ºC. Maceration lasted 25 days, with daily pumping over. The wine was racked into 100% new oak barrique (225 litres) in March for 18 months. After blending, it spent seven months in 8,700 litre oak casks, and 14 months in bottle.
A true classic of the Valpolicella Classico area. Deep and inky in the glass, this wine has imposing structure and depth, as much in its aromas of mature fruit and spices, as on the palate, where the alcohol is sustained by the perfect degree of acidity and ripe tannins.
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