John Paul Kaminga
IT'S BACK!! Vajra Claré J.C. 2021
I might want a powerful Barolo on a cool rainy day like today, but for most of June, July and August, I would be much more likely to reach for a Nebbiolo like Vajra's lively Claré J.C... but then there's nothing else like it in my experience... Many of you know this wine well, and will be very pleased by its return. If you've not tried it, you're missing out on something truly special.
A unique take on Nebbiolo, the Vaira family was inspired by accounts of Nebbiolo wines from centuries ago, when winemaking in the Langhe was very different. Today, Nebbiolo is responsible for some of Italy's most serious dry reds (think Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Boca), wines that are best left in your cellar, reserved for special occasions and indulgent meals. These wines are aged in oak, and their powerful tannins are prized, the idea being that with time these tannins will soften and contribute to the deep textures and complex flavors that make aged wine so special. Vajra's Claré J.C. is a wine made to be intensely fruity and aromatic, with just the teeniest bit of spritz. Barely noticeable but contributing to the wine's vivacious character, with a bit of air the effervescence all but disappears. Claré J.C is worth following a few years, maybe longer, but its point is to feature the gorgeous pure primary fruit flavors of Nebbiolo, one of this famous cultivar's greatest attributes.
Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo 'Claré J.C.' 2021 - $23
Aromas of cherry juice and pit, raspberry, sweet orange and almond candies, fennel, mint, roses, whispers of clay and dried mushrooms. Supple, juicy, and fresh, a touch of syrupy cherry and marzipan contributes to a gorgeous inner perfume, fine grippy tannins, integrated acid cut, this is a bit more serious than usual, but joyful fresh fruit is still the star of the show. I would want to make the most of its primary juiciness, so I'd say it is probably best over the next year or so, but it has the balance to hold for much longer, and may prove to become more interesting in time.
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