The Vaira family of Vergne has firmly established itself as one of Piedmont’s most assured, stylish and elegant producers. The Vairas effortlessly straddle the line between tradition and modernity, celebrating the beauty of their home and its alluring grape varieties while serving up wines that are expressive and downright delicious.
Their G.D. Vajra and Luigi Baudana labels have their feet planted in the communes of Barolo and Serralunga d’Alba respectively. Both bear a small but perfectly formed range of wines that is recognised and revered. But ever open-minded and industrious, the family has spread its wings further across the Langhe Hills.
Enter Monterustico. The family acquired the estate in Dogliani a couple of years back, included in the deal that landed them a parcel of the beautiful Coste di Rose cru in Barolo. With these wines – a white and a red from 2019 – CellarHand and the Vaira family are delighted to present you with another angle on Piedmont from one of this region’s visionary producers.
2019 was one of the longest vintages in recent years in Piedmont. This harvest comes with great anticipation and promises to offer vibrant, mineral wines with remarkable aging potential.
2019 Monterustico Langhe Bianco $33
The Langhe Bianco was the second wine released by the Monterustico team. The vision for this white wine was to gravitate around Arneis, the most popular native white grape that is such a rascal to farm and such a delight to drink. This lively, zesty white brings a true zing to the table.
The fruit (90% Arneis with 10% Sauvignon Blanc) comes from Farigliano and the broader area of Langhe and Roero, home to Arneis. All the vineyards are dry farmed on steep hills with very low yields.
Fruit from vines aged 12 to 25 years old was harvested by hand in September. It was gently pressed and, after a long fermentation at low temperatures, the wine was aged briefly in stainless-steel tanks and before bottling in March.
It has a captivating nose of orange blossom, lemon zest and yellow fruits. It’s citrusy and salty on the palate, lingering on the finish to leave you with a promise of many unfolding layers. – Giuseppe Vaira
2019 Monterustico Dogliani Dolcetto $43
This Dogliani DOCG is from the wonderful diversity of Monterustico estate vineyards, located in what is considered the home of the greatest and most structured Dolcetto wines. It is a wine of power and depth yet possesses lift and energy. It’s a Dogliani for the table that won’t mind being forgotten for a few years in the cellar. 2019 is the first vintage to be certified organic.
The fruit comes from three different vineyards with distinctive terroirs: Monterustico, Casabianca and Zovetto. Monterustico, located 300m up, has predominantly red clay that unleashes depth and power. Casabianca, at 270m, is characterised by a mix of alluvial loam and gravel. The most aromatic and spicy fruit comes from here. Zovetto, the highest of the sites at 340m, features older soils that are mainly composed of white marls. This is the vineyard that contributes elegance and length to the wine.
Grapes from vines aged 15 to 45 years old were hand harvested before 18-24 days of gentle maceration. This was followed by six months’ aging in stainless-steel.
The wine is a beautiful, deep violet-purple in colour. The brooding nose is a cornucopia of blueberries, wild berries and delicate mineral nuances. There’s a suggestion of liquorice and Mediterranean herbs, too. The palate is structured yet balanced by wonderful, velvety fruit. With its long and pure finish, this is a wine that promises a long life ahead, and it provides a joyful pairing with a wide range of dishes. – Giuseppe Vaira