G.D. Vajra's barolos have a reputation of being good value for money. While staying in Alba, I purchased a bottle from Enoteca Carosso (www.carosso.it) which has an extensive collection of fine Langhe wines as well as some Tuscan wines and lots of grappa to choose from. Vajra's Barolo Albe 2004 was only 29 eur which is cheap for a barolo of a great vintage.
Although being a blend and cheaper than their flagship wine, the single vineyard "Barolo Bricco delle Viole", the Albe is not an entry level barolo. Albe is blended from grapes sourced from three different vineyards near from the town of Barolo. While being a traditional producer using large "bottes" made of Slavonian oak, the purpose of winemaker Giuseppe Vajra was to create a wine which is approachable young, thus he controls the use of oak per hectolitre of wine, thus keeping the wine's freshness and decreasing needed cellar time.
The color of the wine was non-barolo like, with only hints of brownish mixed with ruby, however with an orange hue. The wine developed nose of a typical barolo only after extensive time in glass. Initially it was redcurrants and spices, later turning to coffee and underbrush mixed with the redcurrants.
Extensive acidity, sweet alcohol and tannins nicely integrated giving structure but not drying the mouth. When developing with air, fruitiness increases, so this one needs time to open up. The overall perception is a warm wine which is approachable at 6 years of age and ok value for money. Some ripeness of fruit would be welcome, however decanting will help.
Image from www.carosso.it