• Ultimate Ambassador of Piedmont: G.D. Vajra

    Ultimate Ambassador of Piedmont: G.D. Vajra

    The wines of G.D. Vajra stole my attention when I was living in Burgundy, but a subsequent visit in Italy put the whole picture in to context: These are Piedmont elite at pricing that speaks to everyone. From the Dolcetto through the Barolo Ravera, this family estate is the first place to turn for the entire spectrum of what Piedmont is all about.

    Aldo and Milena Vaira bottled their first vintage in 1978 from vineyards planted by Aldo's father in 1948. Vajra's vineyards are set at the highest elevation in the commune of Barolo. Aldo from the start was heavily influenced by the traditional approach of his neighbors down the hill, Bartolo Mascarello and Beppe Rinaldi

    The Vajra wines stand at a perfect intersection between two styles. Aldo has noted descriptions of the estate as "The most modern of the traditionalists and the most traditional of the modernists". Though traditional fermentation and aging is the common approach, the accessibility and silken texture of the wines calls to mind modern sensibilities.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • The King of Wines & The Wine of Kings:  Barolo for the Ages

    The King of Wines & The Wine of Kings: Barolo for the Ages

    In the peak of summer I find myself longing for those cool, late fall nights complete with a big bowl of pasta and a bottle of favorite Barolo. Below is my dream list. The kind of names that may keep one up late at night, tossing and turning in bed, with images of wild boar bolognese, homemade fusilli, and a cheese plate filled with top notch Pecorino. 
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • The King of Wines & The Wine of Kings:  Barolo for the Ages

    The King of Wines & The Wine of Kings: Barolo for the Ages

    In the peak of summer I find myself longing for those cool, late fall nights complete with a big bowl of pasta and a bottle of favorite Barolo. Below is my dream list. The kind of names that may keep one up late at night, tossing and turning in bed, with images of wild boar bolognese, homemade fusilli, and a cheese plate filled with top notch Pecorino. 
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Cappellano Barolo:  Pié Rupestris & Pié Franco

    Cappellano Barolo: Pié Rupestris & Pié Franco

    For many, the wines of Augusto Cappellano need little introduction. Yet they deserve as much text and praise as we shower Barolo's other heroes, Roberto Conterno, Beppe Rinaldi, and Maria Theresa Mascarello. Today's offer does revisit what was the very anticipated, highly lauded 2013 release with new quantities available. But, the impetus for this email is something else.

    2006 was a Barolo vintage that, in my estimation, has flown way under the radar. For classic-leaning palates it might only be rivaled in the decade by 2001 and 2010.Today's list features 24 bottles of Cappellano's 2006 Barolo Pié Rupestris. 


    Antonio Galloni of Vinous got right to the point: "Two thousand six is one of the most powerful, structured vintages of the last three decades."

    Focus on the structure. Even young, the 2006's held a special place with me for their unapologetic raw Nebbiolo features. It was like naked Barolo, without unctuous, rounded fruit to hide behind. I've always found the the snap of tannin and flicker of austerity totally hypnotizing. It was a vintage that just screamed of a rare authenticity of place from day one, and spoke to a long, slow evolution ahead.Today, especially from the traditionalists like Cappellano, these wines are starting to enter their drinking windows.

    Cappellano is best known for crafting ultra-traditional and soulful Barolo with a natural focus on the western slopes of Serralunga d'Alba. Here in the Gabutti cru we see the darker side of Nebbiolo within the greater Barolo zone. However, Augusto Cappellano's organic approach and low sulphur regimen endow these wines of stature with a delicate and sensual side that stands apart from his contemporaries.

    Cappellano is also known for insisting that critics who taste at the cantina do not publish scores for the wines. Although these are among the top Barolo produced in Piedmont each year, you will never see ratings for these wines - Another philosophy at this estate that I admire a great deal.

    With only four hectares the demand for these wines far outweighs supply. The Piè Franco from pre-phylloxera own-rooted vines is also located in the Gabutti cru, but shows a more lifted and ethereal side as compared to the Pié Rupestris. The whispers heard on this ultra-rare bottling surround the belief that this is what Barolo tasted like before American rootstocks were forced to be grafted to the majority European vines.

    The Barolo Chinato is, in many ways, the most esteemed product at Cappellano. The tightly-held secret family recipe has been passed down for generations. The wine is infused with a special ratio of spices, herbs, and other earthly components and ground by hand using a stone mortar and pestle.


    Cappellano Barolo Chinato
    Terrific on its own, but I'd be remiss if I didn't include some other recommendation's from importer, Neal Rosenthal:
    As an aperitif: 4 parts gin, 4 parts Campari, 2 parts Chinato, a touch of ice plus a slice of orange.
    - As a “thirst quencher”: cold sparkling water plus 10% of the volume in Chinato with the juice of a freshly squeezed lime accompanied by a slice of lime.And, Augusto Cappellano reminds us: don’t forget the pleasure of drinking the Chinato accompanied by the best chocolate one can find!
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Barolo Nostalgia:  Vietti's Ultra-Classic 2014 Crus

    Barolo Nostalgia: Vietti's Ultra-Classic 2014 Crus

    "This is an absolutely phenomenal set of wines from Vietti. The 2014's are every bit as magnificent as they have always been from barrel...readers will want to snap up these Barolos before they disappear."
    - Antonio Galloni of Vinous (February 2018)

    Vietti is as elite as Barolo gets, but somehow Luca Currado continues to find a way to raise the bar each vintage. 2014 marks one of the most unusual growing seasons in many years, but without a doubt Vietti's atop the list again with their signature suave texture converging with the mind-bending transparency of the year. 2014 is as classic as they come, reminding Luca of the Barolos produced from his father's generation and calling to mind classic standouts like 1964 and 1971.

    Today's offering features the limited release of these stellar 2014's, as well as back-vintage gems including rarities like 1989 Rabajá, 1997 Riserva Villero, and 2001 Rocche.


    *Due to hail damage there was no Brunate bottled in 2014

    6x 2014 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito
    $183 per bottle.

    3x 2014 Vietti Barolo Rocche
    $183 per bottle.

    6x 2014 Vietti Barolo Ravera
    $183 per bottle.

    1x 2014 Vietti Barolo Ravera 1.5L
    $499 per bottle.

    Also available:

    1x 1989 Vietti Barbaresco Rabaja
    $199 per bottle.

    1x 1997 Vietti Barolo Riserva Villero
    $455 per bottle.

    1x 1998 Vietti Barolo Rocche
    $182 per bottle.

    1x 2000 Vietti Barolo Ravera
    $189 per bottle. (September arrival)

    8x 2001 Vietti Barolo Rocche
    $229 per bottle. (September arrival)

    1x 2008 Vietti Barolo Brunate 3.0L
    $769 per bottle.

    2x 2008 Vietti Barolo Rocche
    $196 per bottle.

    1x 2010 Vietti Barolo Brunate
    $226 per bottle.

    2x 2011 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 
    $157 per bottle.

    6x 2013 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito
    $183 per bottle.

    12x 2013 Vietti Barolo Brunate
    $179 per bottle.

    36x 2013 Vietti Barolo Castiglione
    $53 per bottle.
    Posted by Max Kogod