Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Friday, October 22, 2010

Castel Noarna 2005 Lagrein

Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Take Castel Noarna for example. The wines are great but I just couldn't sell them to save my life. And, as I said, the wines are really good.

Having the 2005 Lagrein from above with dinner tonight and it is just awesome.

Made from organically grown grapes in one of the most beautiful places ever, the little tiny village of Nogaredo in Trentino, right up the road into the mountains from Verona and next to a picturesque castle from the 9th Century.

Clear with a deep ruby core out to a garnet rim. Developing aromas of crushed violets, cranberries, cherry compote, black licorice and a tiny touch of white pepper. Slightly bloody meat and iron/lead pencil in the mouth. Dry with medium plushy-round tannins, surprisingly medium plus acidity and a long, say 5 second, finish. Flavors of cranberry and soy along with that cherry/cranberry combo combine in the mouth to make for a very complex and interesting wine.

Spaghetti with turkey meatballs and marinara sauce, some good bread and a bitter green salad were just the foods to have with this wine on a night when Fall has shown herself for the first time here in SoCal. (And yes, we have seasons, and rain. Too much rain if you ask me. I may have to move back to the Bay Area to find some sunshine!)

My last bottle of this wine and I guess the last one in California as I don't think anyone has picked up this winery to import since we parted last year.

Ah well. La vita va avanti come sempre. I would order some just to drink myself but I think I would have to get so many cases that I wouldn't be able to drink them all on my own.

Care to join me? ;-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

G.D. Vajra dinner at Sociale in San Francisco with Giuseppe Vaira (and me!)

Join us for a fantastic dinner on Monday, November 1st, at 6:30 pm
where we will showcase the wines of G.D. Vajra in Barolo.

Aldo Vajra as a winemaker has been called the most modern of traditionalists as well as the most traditional of modernists. His wines toe the line so well between having old world structure, acidity and finesse side-by-side with new world clarity, definition and power. A professor by trade turned winegrower and winemaker in the 1970's, Aldo embodies the dichotomy between the new and old.

Technically proficient in all the latest wine making trends but he leans more toward just letting the grapes speak for themselves. Aldo has struck a chord with wine lovers all over the world with his wines that touch the heart as well as the mind.

His son Giuseppe Vajra, who will join us for dinner, is now part of the family enterprise and following is his father's footsteps. He has been crisscrossing the Atlantic to promote the family winery here in America, just one of the many countries he visits every year. World traveled though he is, if you ask him where he would rather be, he will gladly tell you either in the winery or the vineyard.

We will pour five Vajra wines to pair with a five course dinner Chef Tia will prepare.

The wines will be:
G.D. Vajra Langhe DOC Bianco (Riesling) 2008
G.D. Vajra Barbera d'Alba DOC 2007
G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso (Freisa) DOC 2006
G.D. Vajra Barolo DOCG "Bricco delle Viole" 2005
G.D. Vajra Moscato d'Asti 2008

"I try to make wines that give people joy.
In the past wine was a food, it was necessary for sustenance. Today that is not the case; we choose to drink for pleasure.
I want to make wines that bring people happiness" - Aldo Vajra

Dinner will start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 1st, and will have limited seating.
The cost of the dinner will be $110 per person not including tax or gratuity.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

David Nichol and Tia Harrison

SOCIALE / 3665 Sacramento Street
San Francisco / CA / 94118
415.921.3200 /

Monday, October 18, 2010

VAJRA | Moon Nebbia Dawn on Bricco delle Viole

From my buddy Giuseppe Vaira the other morning:

Cari Amici

This was the view earlier today, out of the kitchen door, heading to the cellar. We couldn’t have a better start of the day and just wanted to share it with you. Today is calm. After a rainy Monday, a chilly night full of wind and a starry sky, we are taking care of Dolcetto waiting for more Barbera to be picked. The fruit is exceeding our expectations and hopes.

Buona giornata a Voi tutti!

Lunch with Francesca Vaira at Terroni DTLA . . . best lunch ever!

Francesca Vaira  2010 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library  2006 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library 2014 Luigi Ba...