The red was a no-brainer for us, but a surprise to our guests: Vajra Barbera d’Alba 2008, one of our favourite wines. The usual match for steak, especially grilled, is Cabernet or
I first visited Vajra 23 years ago, right after they’d finished building the new winery, and the first thing that impressed me about the wines was their balance and restraint. The late ‘80s and early ‘90s saw a glut of French oak, after the ebullient Giacomo Bologna won acclaim for his woody barrique Barberas, so Vajra’s, made in large Slavonian oak barrels (as they still are) stood out as clear expressions of the grape and the soil. If anything, the wines have gotten even better. It doesn’t say so on the label, but the grapes are farmed organically. I’m not surprised.