Episode 398 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features features Aldo Vaira of the G.D. Vajra winery in Italy’s Barolo region. Giuseppe Vaira, Aldo’s son, translates for this interview. This episode includes a Warm Up from Erin about grape varieties that are outliers in their areas.
Aldo Vaira is a compelling speaker who brings years of experience and revelations to his words, but he has rarely been heard by an English speaking audience. This interview, translated by Aldo’s son Giuseppe, allows his thoughts to shine for English speakers as well. The episode traverses four decades of Aldo’s life at the winery, and bears witness to a region that he saw change first-hand. Aldo recalls in this interview a car coming to pick him up at his home. In the car were Aldo Conterno, Bartolo Mascarello, and Quinto Chionetti. All great personalities of the Langhe, all now passed away. Aldo Vaira brings them back to life for us briefly, discussing why Conterno and Chionetti were friends, and Mascarello’s quiet manner of speaking. It is a treat to go back in time in this way, and to hear more about names that many Americans may be encountering only for the first time, such as Luigi Veronelli and Mario Soldati. For Veronelli in particular, Aldo explains the context of what he accomplished, and why it was important. He also chronicles the changing social landscape of his region, as he describes a time before the wines of his area had international renown or sales. If you are a fan of the Piemonte, this is a revealing discussion. If you are just getting into the wines of Barolo, this is a must listen.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine