April Wine Club - Sapphire
When I last left you we were on the warm sandy beaches of Puglia enjoying the Papale Primitivo. We are headed north to the Piedmont region - its Medieval Latin origins translates to "at the foot of the mountains." The Piedmont vineyards are between the foothills of the Alps and Apennines - this region has been heralded as the most important wine-growing regions in Italy, some might say the whole world. The two mountain ranges are responsible for the climate and terroir which lends to the significantly higher quality Piedmont wines. This month we are lucky enough to be featuring both Sapphire selections from G. D. Vajra. If that name sounds familiar have had the Nebbiolo on the list for a while.
The white wine selection isn't necessary a white wine but it was so unique and delicious I couldn't resist. It's not actually a still wine either. A description from their website:
In 1787 Thomas Jefferson, the ambassador to France at the time, came to italy to study the farming of rice. Stopping in Turin he tasted Nebbiolo for the first time. Giving us one of the most authoritative testimonies about the taste of the time, he describes this wine as 'about as sweet as the silky Madeira, as astringent on the palate as Bordeaux, and as brish as Champagne.' Being in love with wine, we were not able to resist to challenge ourselves with a Metodo Classico that embraces this ancient and forgotten history.
The N.S. Della Neve Rosato NV is this months selection and it is 50% Nebbiolo and 50% Pinot Noir. There is a LOT of love in each bottle of wine. The website describes the vineyard as magnificent and steep. Harvest takes place between late August and early September. The vines are worked by hand - from pruning to harvest. The fruit is hand picked and transported in small crates and manually carried out to preserve the whole fruit.
This wine has an expressive nose-think strawberry fruit leather. The finish is really crisp and lemony. Ideally this wine would be a great aperitif-but could easily pair with the remainder of any following courses. We have a new yellowtail small plate on the menu-this would pair beautifully. Heck it would go great with our charcuterie/cheese board.
The G.D. Vajra website description of this wine makes it sound so exciting. "The 2019 is a radiant, incredibly poised wine and promised an amazing evolution." The Sapphire red selection this month is the G.D. Vajra 'Albe' Barolo. It is composed of 100% Nebbiolo. Back in 1971 when Aldo Vajra was a university student he was one of the earliest to adopt organic farming practices in Piedmont. The vineyards are sustainable and organic certified-the soil has been preserved by grassing and spontaneous cover crop for almost 50 years. This wine is also a labor of love with an incredible amount of manual work per hectare. This vintage had an early bud break, late flowering and a slow progressive ripening. This meant low yields from the beginning of the season. With all these factors it meant this vintage was the longest and latest of the last decade. The grapes were hand sorted - three times; directly on the vine, as whole clusters on the sorting tables and lastly as single berries after destemming. This wine was aged in large Slavonian oak casks for 23 months. I have to defer to the the winemakers notes on this one. It may be my new bench mark for Barolo wines.
"2019 Barolo Albe features a classic pigeon blood garnet color, with a very lively core. A rush of red berries, raspberries, and red currants is wrapped by a layer of sweet spices. The mouthfeel opens with a gorgeous balance, great enery and refined tannins, and the aftertaste echoes the aromatic with lingering complexity."
We've got a couple of new menu items this one would pair with beautifully - The Tomahawk steak for Two or New York Steak and Shrimp.