Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

91

2013 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont

£13, 13%, Liberty Wines

This is only the "entry point" Dolcetto from the Vajra family, but it's still a deliciously aromatic example of Piedmont's everyday red. Aromatic and fruity, showing flavours of plum and black cherry, as well as aromas of violets, it's at its best when lightly chilled. Aren't we all? Long and refreshing with chalky acidity. 

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94

2008 Contino Reserva, Rioja

£19.99, 14%, Tesco; Berry Bros & Rudd; Moreno Wines; Oxford Wine; Cheers; Harrods

Contino is one of the properties that launched the single estate movement in Rioja, a superb wine that develops beautifully in bottle. 2008 was a late, cool vintage in Rioja, giving this blend of mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano a refreshing, low key elegance. Sublte and refined, with red fruits, subtle oak, some plummy tannins and deftly integrated oak. 

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96

2010 G.D. Vajra, Bricco delle Viole, Barolo, Piedmont

TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines

So appealing now that you are almost tempted to pull the cork, but give this superlative Barolo some time. Old vines, marl soils, a top vintage and brilliant winemaking all combine beautifully here. Elegant, minerally and poised, this has a red fruits sweetness that is almost reminiscent of Pinot Noir, but with a firmer backbone of acidity and tannin. Fine, silky and very long. 

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96

2010 G.D. Vajra Luigi Baudana, Cerretta, Barolo, Piedmont

TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines

Even chalkier and fresher than the Baudana bottling under the same label, this has more perfume, elegance and finesse, with a tautness and minerality that are thrilling to taste. Essence of Serralunga, with fine, silky tannins, good structure and a sweet, complex finish that goes on and on and on. Beautiful Barolo. 

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95

2010 G.D. Vajra Luigi Baudana, Baudana, Barolo, Piedmont

TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines

The Luigi Baudana wines come entirely from Serralunga d'Alba, widely considered the best village in the Barolo region. This is more closed and concentrated than the sweeter, riper 2009, but has finer tannins, too, and the classic chalky undertone of eastern Barolo. It's a serious, even sligthly backward wine with excellent structure and ageing potential. Give this wine time. 

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94

2010 G.D. Vajra Ravera, Barolo, Piedmont

TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines

More structured than the Bricco delle Viole, this comes from a 2.2 hectare, south- and south-east facing vineyard and is a first release. It's got a bloody, almost iron-like note on the palate, firmish but well integrated tannins and minerally freshness. The tannins need food (preferably a lump of protein) to take away their edge. One to tuck away.

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93

2013 Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtiko , Santorini

£14.95, 13%, www.winedirect.co.uk; noel Young Wines; Corks & Cases

Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it's grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95. 

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93

2013 G.D. Vajra Petracine Riesling, Langhe, Piedmont

TBC, 13%, Liberty Wines

There isn't a lot of competition in Piedmont, but this has to be the region's best Riesling. Nor would it look shabby in a tasting with examples from the Alto Adige. Made entirely with clone 49 on poor, sandy soils, it's a dry, tangy style with notes of white flowers and lime zest and a crisp, tapering finish. Beautifully balanced. 

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93

2013 G.D. Vajra, Coste & Fossati, Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont

£18, 13.5%, Wine Liberty

Made from a "proprietary selection of red-stalked clones", the estate's top Dolcetto hails from a single vineyard in Vergne. Rich in colour and more concentrated that the straight Dolcetto d'Alba, it's worth the extra money. Plush and aromatic, with sweet plum and damson fruit, soft tannins and a sweet, lingering finish. Dolcetto doesn't get much better than this. 

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93

2011 G.D. Vajra, Barbera d'Alba Superiore, Barbera d'Alba, Piedmont

£23, 15%, Liberty Wines

Slightly higher in alcohol than the regular Barbera, this is mostly sourced from the Bricco delle Viole vineyard, where the vines are 40 years old. Aged in neutral Slavonian oak, it's creamy, smooth and savoury, with impressive texture, notes of liquorice and dried herbs, polished tannins and a warm, full-bodied finish. A Barbera that's definitely worth keeping for a few years. 

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