2018 Barolo, Bricco delle Viole, G.D. Vajra, Piedmont, Italy

2018 Barolo, Bricco delle Viole, G.D. Vajra, Piedmont, Italy

Product: 20188016076
Prices start from £75.50 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2018 Barolo, Bricco delle Viole, G.D. Vajra, Piedmont, Italy

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This is detailed, rich and immediate, with lifted notes of berry fruit, dried flowers and fine minerality – but also taut, precise and poised. It’s cool and fine on the attack, with layers of firm mouth-filling tannins and bright acidity through to the finish. This is sophisticated, lifted and aromatic, but it will need time. Positively alive with potential.

Drink 2030 - 2045

Adrian Brice, Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (March 2022)

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Critics reviews

Antonio Galloni, Vinous93/100

The 2018 Barolo Bricco delle Viole is finely cut and chiseled, as it so often is. Dried flowers, mint, crushed rocks, pine and red berry fruit all grace this taut, sculpted Barolo. The 2018 has all of the energy of this site, but its signatures are decidedly dialed down.

Drink 2026 - 2043

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (February 2022)

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Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20

Barolo. The grapes were harvested 14, 15, 19 and 29 October. The wine stayed on the skins for 48 to 57 days with submerged cap. Aged in large Slavonian oak casks of 25 and 50 hl.

First day: Just mid ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Concentrated and subtle at the same time with brooding concentration and beautiful depth. Bags of chewy tannins that make their mark on the still-embryonic fruit on the palate. Long, elegant, fresh and still to open up further.

Second day: At first a little subdued but then opens up with aeration. Sweetly concentrated red fruit with a cool-climate edge. Fine and concentrated at the same time. Much more backward on the palate with a thick layer of firm yet polished tannins. Elegant filigree fruit on the finish. Definitely needs more time.

Drink 2022 - 2030

Walter Speller, JancisRobinson.com (November 2021)

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James Suckling93/100

Intense, flavorful Barolo that shows some good, nutty red-fruit character and fine, firm tannin. Medium-bodied and very tight. Needs time to even out.

Try from 2024

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (January 2022)

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The Wine Independent95/100

The name Bricco delle Viole means hilltop of violets and it is one of the highest vineyards in Barolo climbing from 400 to 480 meters above sea level. Thirty years ago, this may have been seen as a disadvantage but with climate change these higher elevation, cooler, fresher sites are much sought after. The 2018 G. D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole starts out with ripe strawberry notes and perfumed, violet aromas.

It is round and smooth on the palate but not heavy. It reflects beautifully the vintage - a little lighter perhaps than some years but with plenty of tension and energy. It has a persistent core of bright, red fruit with some notes of fresh earth, all tied together by fine-textured but grippy tannins. Fragile yet powerful at the same time, it is very pure and beautiful. It is a wine that shines brightly.

Drink 2023 - 2035

Susan Hulme, The Wine Independent (July 2022)

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About this WINE

G. D. Vajra

G. D. Vajra

Based in Vergne, the highest village in the commune of Barolo, GD Vajra is a relatively young estate. It was established by Aldo Vajra in 1972, when he was just 16. His father had planted vineyards in 1947 but called Aldo “mad” when he followed his childhood dream to become a winemaker. Taking over the family estate in 1968, he became one of the early pioneers of organic farming, and in 1971 the estate became one of the first in Piedmont to be organically certified. Until now, Vajra’s wines have somewhat flown under the radar, but it’s with good reason that the estate has been described as “one of Piedmont’s best kept secrets… with sublime hand-crafted, artisan wines of the very highest level”.

The Vajra team deduced that lots of flowers on a vine indicate a vintage more likely to have spacious, aromatic fruit. 2019’s fruit set was low, giving the vintage concentration. July’s heat spikes didn’t cause any issues, while the dull August preserved a spine of acidity. Harvest was the longest and latest of the past decade, and the decision was taken to shorten the period of skin contact after fermentation to under 30 days. The time in wood was also reduced by two or three months. The definition of the 2019 vintage suits the purity of the Vajra style very well.

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Located due south of Alba and the River Tanaro, Barolo is Piedmont's most famous wine DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), renowned for producing Italy's  finest red wines from 100 percent Nebbiolo

Its red wines were originally sweet, but in 1840 the then extant Italian monarchy, the House of Savoy, ordered them to be altered to a dry style. This project was realised by French oenologist Louis Oudart, whose experience with Pinot Noir had convinced him of Nebbiolo's potential. The Barolo appellation was formalised in 1966 at around 1,700 hectares – only a tenth of the size of Burgundy, but almost three times as big as neighbouring Barbaresco.

Upgraded to DOCG status in 1980, Barolo comprises two distinct soil types: the first is a Tortonian sandy marl that produces a more feminine style of wine and can be found in the villages of Barolo, La Morra, Cherasco, Verduno, Novello, Roddi and parts of Castiglione Falletto. The second is the older Helvetian sandstone clay that bestows the wines with a more muscular style. This can be found in Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga d'Alba, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour and the other parts of Castiglione Falletto. Made today from the Nebbiolo clones Lampia, Michet and Rosé, Barolo has an exceptional terroir with almost every village perched on its own hill. The climate is continental, with an extended summer and autumn enabling the fickle Nebbiolo to achieve perfect ripeness.

Inspired by the success of modernists such as Elio Altare, there has been pressure in recent years to reduce the ageing requirements for Barolo; this has mostly been driven by new producers to the region, often with no Piedmontese viticultural heritage and armed with their roto-fermenters and barriques, intent on making a fruitier, more modern style of wine.

This modern style arguably appeals more to the important American market and its scribes, but the traditionalists continue to argue in favour of making Barolo in the classic way. They make the wine in a mix of epoxy-lined cement or stainless-steel cuves, followed by extended ageing in 25-hectoliter Slavonian botte (barrels) to gently soften and integrate the tannins. However, even amongst the traditionalists there has been a move, since the mid-1990s, towards using physiologically (rather than polyphenolically) riper fruit, aided by global warming. Both modernist and traditional schools can produce exceptional or disappointing wines.

Recommended traditionalist producers:
Giacomo Borgogno, Giacomo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa, Elio Grasso, Marcarini, Bartolo Mascarello and Giuseppe Mascarello.

Recommended nmdernist producers:
Azelia, Aldo Conterno, Luciano Sandrone, Paolo Scavino and Roberto Voerzio

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Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is hardly ever seen outside the confines of Piedmont. It takes its name from "nebbia" which is Italian for fog, a frequent phenomenon in the region.

A notoriously pernickety grape, it requires sheltered south-facing sites and performs best on the well-drained calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo.

Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo & Barbarescos. This DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style. Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15% other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto.

Nebbiolo flowers early and ripens late, so a long hang time, producing high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins; the challenge being to harvest the fruit with these three elements ripe and in balance. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles. They age brilliantly and the very best need ten years to show at their best.

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