Italy’s Damilano family: four generations of excellence
This week for ‘Why Not Wednesday,’ friends, we introduce you to Italy’s Damilano family. The Damilano business dates back to 1890 when Giuseppe Borgogno began to vinify his own estate wines. It is with great passion that Giacomo Damilano, the founder’s son-in-law, developed with his children a love for the vineyards, selecting and caring for them with great concern so as to improve the quality of the wines. Over time, the winery’s production was transformed into a jewel that was passed down with pride in 1997 to Giacomo’s grandchildren, who continue to manage the winery today.
Paolo, Mario and Guido Damilano, the fourth generation, have brought new vigor to the family business while upholding Damilano’s historic production philosophy: high quality wines can only come from high quality grapes. With the assistance of agronomist Giampiero Romana and enologist Beppe Caviola, Damilano continues to hone and improve each vintage.
Ambassadors of Barolo, the Damilano line culminates in several single vineyard crus that explore the vast and nuanced expression of Nebbiolo in this region. The vineyards, partly owned and partly leased, are situated in the most famous crus of the Langa region: Cannubi, Liste, Fossati and Brunate, which are almost entirely cultivated with Nebbiolo da Barolo, and to a lesser extent, with Dolcetto and Barbera varietals.
In the past, fermentation and maceration could last up to two months so that in big vintages the alcohol level could rise above 15 percent. Those made since the mid-1980s in a more modern style emphasize softness over tannins and an earlier release time over high alcohol. Traditionalists argue that such wines are thin and tend to oxidize more quickly.
Somewhere in the middle of these contrasting but complementary philosophies is Damilano Barolo, whose reputation since 1890 has put it in the highest ranks in the region. The estate is now in its fourth generation; it has been expanded and made current via the most up-to-date technology. That said, you don’t last four generations without keeping an eye on family traditions.
2014 Damilano Barbera d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy :: Barbera $21 sale $18
The first vintage of Barbera d’Asti was in 2008. The production of Barbera d’Asti is the result of a recent lease agreement which allows Damilano to cultivate 42 acres of vineyards in Casorzo, located in the hills of Monferrato in the Asti province. This area is a historic cultivation zone for Barbera. The silt levels in the soil of this region give the final wines a desirable softness.
2015 Damilano, Piedmont Italy :: Arneis $24 sale $20
Arneis is one of the most common white varieties in Piedmont, found especially in the Langhe and Roero areas, on both sides of the River Tanaro. This grape was previously blended with Nebbiolo to produce wines with a less aggressive character; hence, it is sometimes called “White Barolo.” It was also once common practice to plant a few Arneis vines amongst the more valuable Nebbiolo vines to ward off damage caused by birds and bees. Attracted by the sweet aroma of the Arneis, they would leave the Nebbiolo grapes alone. In recent years, however, this precious and mysterious grape variety has regained popularity and become highly successful, producing white wines with excellent aromas. It was granted DOC status in 1994.
2015 Damilano Lange Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy :: Nebbiolo $24 sale $20
Nebbiolo is the oldest and most noble native varietal in Piedmont. It most likely takes its name from the Italian word for fog, “nebbia,” which is very common in the hills of Alba, especially in early to mid-October when this late-ripening variety is harvested. It is often called the “queen of black grapes” as it needs meticulous and laborious care. Nebbiolo d’Alba is a member of the triad of fine Alba wines made from Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco. Starting with the 2009 vintage, this wine features a label celebrating the memory of Margherita Damilano, who tragically passed away in 2010.
2012 Damilano Barolo Lecinquevigne, Piedmont, Italy :: Nebbiolo $48 sale $44
This Barolo is crafted from Nebbiolo and cultivated in five distinct townships. All part of the Barolo DOCG zone, the vineyards are located in Castellero, located northeast of the village of Barolo with western exposure; Monvigliero, located in Verduno with southern exposure; Fossati, located in La Morra with east-southeast exposure; Ravera, located in Novello with southwestern exposure; and Cavourrina, located in Grinzane Cavour with west-southwest exposure. The final wine is a unique expression of what the region has to offer. It is ready to drink now, but has the capacity to age for at least 10 years.
This Saturday, friends, we will be tasting Alpine Brewery and Green Flash brewing. We’ll feature two beers from each of these awesome breweries!
Green Flash: from humble beginnings came true enlightenment for this leading San Diego-based brewery. Mike and Lisa Hinkley established Green Flash in 2002. Today, they lead a talented team of like-minded craft beer enthusiasts who embrace the Green Flash culture and brand vision with passion and zeal. Every batch of beer is a labor of love and is a true Green Flash collaboration.
Alpine: a small brewery with humble aspirations, established in 1999 and continuing to emphasize quality and diversity. These guys are delighted to enhance your drinking and dining experience while here on earth with enjoyable beers. These guys are growing, and have expanded their pub in Alpine, California.
We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4 pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl so we can CHEERS!
Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.