The GD Vajra estate is found in Vergne, the highest village of Barolo in north-west Italy, where the vineyards sit at an altitude of up to 400 metres. The estate is named after Giuseppe Domenico Vajra, who founded the estate in 1972, using vineyards that had been in the family since the 1920s, but which were only economically viable to farm once the Italian DOC system was introduced in the 1960s and Barolo's worldwide popularity started to spike.
The estate is now run by his Giuseppe's son Aldo who, with the help of his wife Milena and their children, tends all 40 hectares of vines. The elevated growing conditions here mean that grapes ripen later than in nearby vineyards, but possess an innate elegance as a result. The dry micro climate also results in relatively small yields helping to ensure grapes of excellent quality.
10 of the 40 hectares are planted with nebbiolo for Aldo's Barolo, located in such prized vineyards as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne. Here the soil is rich in calcareous marl, with rocky outcrops, giving fragrant and particularly long-lived wines.
This is a truly diverse operation, ranging from semi-sweet sparkling wines to single-vineyard Barolo. Aldo adheres to old-style winemaking methods, such as ageing his Barolo in barrel for three and half years prior to bottling, though blends these with new techniques. He explains his approach, saying that 'traditional wines are more elegant, with more delicate perfumes, leaner, somewhat difficult, but offering more pleasure at the table.'
Unlike the powerful wines of Serralunga or Monforte, Aldo's wines have a Burgundian intensity and a purity of flavour that makes them stand out in Barolo.