Picking this wine was inspired in large part by the recent return by one of Wine Warehouse's 'Next Generation' from a Summer college session in Italy where he got to visit this winery (good course credit if you can find it!). Also because it needs/deserves extra dialog and attention as much as any white wine from Italy. Luigi and Fiorna Baudana has been a well regarded and very traditional producer in the Serralunga d'Alba region of Barolo, but looked to do some experimentation with white varieties in the early 1980s. They planted a selection of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and a local grape called Nascetta in one of their cooler Barolo vineyard parcels, initially to see which ones would do the best. After a time they found that all the varieties performed well, and in combination actually made for quite a fine blend. In 2008 the winemaking and management of their vineyards was passed along to longtime friends at the Vajra estate, and even though they could get 2X-3X the return by replanting the vines to Nebbiolo, the vines here were so well established and the wine they produce so distinctive, it would be a crime to NOT continue to make the Dragon.
With all the juice steel fermented and with little/no malolactic fermentation, the aromas are pure and clean with loads of white citrus, familiar apple and pear skin from the Chardonnay, and subtle hints of melon rind. As it opens up there are even some cooler mint tones and a hint of the 'petrol' note many of the great Alsatian or German dry Rieslings show off. On the palate the round texture is distinctly Chardonnay (at one time the wine was labeled as a Chardonnay because it makes up at least 85% of the blend), but the vibrancy of the other varieties quickly come into play, as well as the 'Italian-ness' of the site and the winemaking that give the finish a long, complex minerally finish. Substitute this into your dinner plans for most any Gavi of even Loire whites, as it shows the capability of working with all sorts of savory seafood and poultry dishes.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!