As September is coming to a close so is another great session of #Winestudio. September’s #Winestudio has been sponsored by Justin Gallen, owner of Rinascimento Wine Importers. Rinascimento imports fine Italian wine that is either organic or biodynamically crafted into California. If you live in California take a look at the rear labels when you are selecting your next Italian wine for purchase. If you see Rinascimento’s label you can rest assured you are about to purchase high quality, hand selected Italian wine that you are sure to enjoy! This month Justin has shared four excellent Italian wines with #Winestudio. The first two you can read about in my article “September is Italian Wine Month;” the second two are both from the Piedmont region of Italy: a sassy Barolo and elegant Barbera.
“PROTOCOL wine studio presents an online twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! It’s part instruction and wine tasting, with discussions on producers, grapes, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food and wine matching and what all this means to us as wine drinkers. (Follow the hashtag #WineStudio on Twitter Tuesday nights at 8pm CST!)”
G.D. Vajra 2009 Barolo Albe DOCG: This wine was a transparent, bright ruby red as it poured into the glass after a two hour decant. As my nose met the glass vibrant aromas of red fruit, spice and lavender danced through the air. On the palate my mouth was filled with red fruit: cherries, currants and plums, along with spice, licorice and a hint of underbrush. I found the acidity to be harmonious with the tannins in this full body wine as it lingered in my mouth after I swallowed. As a young Barolo I knew this wine needed time to open; two hours allowed it time to bloom; however, a few years of proper cellaring this wine will be quite a treasure! I recommend this wine and, as I said, suggest allowing it more time to age. Additionally, this Barolo causes one to pause before judging a wine by its color; light ruby does not always equal a light to medium body wine.
Albe was crafted from 100% Nebbiolo grapes from three different Vajra vineyards, located at three different altitudes with different soils and different sun exposure harmoniously blended into this wine. Fermentation of this wine lasted between 30-40 days, depending on the characteristic of the vintage, then was aged in Slovenian oak barrels for 36 months before bottling. This wine contained 14.5% alcohol. SRP $38.
G.D. Vajra 2011Barbera D’ Alba DOC: The Barbera was an opaque garnet with tight viscosity. As it opened it offered inviting aromas of ripe cherries, dark chocolate and violets. On the palate this wine offered a velvet coating of ripe cherries, dark chocolate and minerals. The juiciness of the fruit lingered on the palate through the smooth acidity and refined tannins. This was a well-balanced wine with depth. Though it was young the tannins were elegant, leading me to believe this wine will become truly amazing over time. I recommend this wine, and like to Barolo suggest it will only improve with age so buy a few bottles, drink one now to taste this gem then cellar the others for a future treat!
Barbera D’Alba was crafted of 100% Barbera grapes from six different terroirs: four with soils rich in white marl, two with darker soil rich in clay and iron, and one with calcareous; each soil type contributing unique qualities to the aromas and flavors of this wine. Fermentation of this Barbera lasts 15-20 days, depending on the characteristics of the vintage, then malolactic fermentation and aging takes place in oak barrels and steel tanks for approximately 12 months. This wine contained 14.5% alcohol. SRP $23.
Since these were both full body Piedmont reds I chose to pair both of them with an Italian meatball hoagie. I bought the meatballs from my favorite Italian grocery and wine store in Dallas: Jimmy’s Food Store: Fine Italian Food & Wine. After roasting the meatballs in the oven till cooked through I placed them in a sauce pan with simmering marinara for an hour or so, then placed in toasted French rolls and topped with fresh Italian Parmesan cheese I brought back from Valpolicella. Jimmy’s meatballs have a pepper spice to them that I love. Furthermore, that spice makes Jimmy’s meatballs a perfect pairing with hearty Italian wine. Dinner was perfect! One thing that I have come to cherish from my time in Italy: Italian (European) wines are rarely made for meditation; they are crafted to be paired with food. Therefore, to taste the best any given wine has to offer it is important to pair it with food that matches its characteristics. How do you know the flavor potential of a young, tannic Barolo with spice and licorice without tasting it with spicy, peppery meatballs? On its own it may not be the taste you are looking for but paired well the wine simply sings!
From the G.D. Vajra Website: “We produce Barolo and the wines of our beloved land. We believe in Beauty, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and creativity with respect for tradition. As a family-run winery, we are artisans, working together with a young team who embraces our same passion and enthusiasm. We work the vineyards because it is the foundation for quality without compromise, but most of all because we love doing it! Our wines are elegant, complex and delicate. They have the personality and identity that we like to find in every glass on our table.”
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with the G.D. Vajra 2009 Barolo Albe DOCG and G.D. Vajra 2011 Barbera D’Alba DOC is Still Rainin by Johnny Lang. Johnny Lang is a truly gifted musician. He embodies R&B, Soul, Funk, Gospel and Rock as you can hear in his song Still Rainin. The sass of his guitar represents the sassiness of the Barolo; the soulfulness of his voice represents the elegant soulfulness of the Barbera. Therefore, this song is the perfect pairing for these two Italian beauties!
Get your own bottles of G.D. Vajra 2009 Barolo Albe DOCG and G.D. Vajra 2011 Barbera D’Alba DOC and let me know what song you would pair with them. Cheers!