Here's a second consecutive post in the déjà vu all over again department. I'm guessing that close to half of those reading this will already have seen the above photo courtesy of my pal Jeremy, who posted it this morning over at Do Bianchi. What can I say? The picture is just too beautiful not to share as widely as possible.
The image was sent to the both of us by our mutual friend, Giuseppe Vajra, scion of the G.D. Vajra estate in Barolo. You really do need to click on the photo to view it in its full glory. I don't often upload photos in unedited/uncompressed format but with this it was a must. Giuseppe snapped the shot in the wee hours of the morning, at 6:35 AM to be exact, on October 5, 2010, from the western slope of his family's plot of the Bricco delle Viole vineyard.
From A Wine Atlas of the Langhe:
"Bricco Viole belongs to the district of Vergne di Barolo and its charming name (literally, 'violet hill') is a reminder of the flowers that bloom here in springtime. And of course, violets are very much part of the aromatic profile of Barolo. This great vineyard can be clearly seen from the road that leads from the centre of Vergne to La Morra."I love the way Giuseppe's photo gives no indication whatsoever that the terrain is one defined by vines, yet it nonetheless captures the essence of the Barolo landscape. Rugged but peacefully rolling hills and the valleys between them, the fog ("nebbia" — you'll see it in the depression between the slopes when you enlarge the photo) so omnipresent in the area, and the influence of both the sun and the moon on the land beneath... they're all there. The color of the sky, too, is simply enchanting; perhaps closer to indigo than violet on the ROYGBIV spectrum, but close enough to lend a poetic nuance to the photo's subject.
If you've any doubt of what I'm talking about, just compare Giuseppe's wee-hours photo to the mid-day shot directly above, taken by one of my traveling companions, Eric Tuverson, during a visit with Giuseppe's father, Aldo, in February 2006. The perspective is different but the flow, the hills, the essence are the same. Also, bear in mind that Alba, the name of the city central to the overall Barolo zone, literally means "dawn" in Italian. While Giuseppe and Aldo produce a single vineyard Barolo from their plot of Bricco delle Viole, their flagship Barolo, a multi-vineyard blend from parcels in Coste, Fossati and La Volta, is called Albe — "the dawns."
I truly do love Piemonte; there's something about it that just pulls me in, makes me feel rooted, at home. Thanks for sharing, Giuseppe. This is as much your post as it is mine, my friend. Un abbraccio!