Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More Barolo please from La Cantina Damilano!

Cantina DamilanoAnother stop on my journey through the Piedmont wine region from Alba to Barolo, along the side of the road, I stopped in to La Cantina Damilano. The tasting room was very modern with multiple tables for tastings and walls lined with bottles on slanted shelves. I tasted their Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barbera d'Alba and three of their Barolos from different vineyards (Cannubi, Liste and their “Lecinquevigne” which comes from 5 different towns/vineyards). Our host had stated that their '04 and '05 vintages were fantastic and followed in the shadows of the '97 that were mellowing out.
2004 Damilano Lecinquevigne Barolo
The story of this winery began in 1890 with the original founder, Giuseppe Borgogno. It was passed down to his son-in-law, Giacomo Damilano and is now managed by the grandchildren, Guido, Mario and Paolo since 1997. They have 73 hectares of land that is partially owned and leased in multiple territories including some of the top cru pieces of land in this area: Cannubi, Liste, Brunate and Cerequio. The Cannubi and Brunate crus are known for their elegance and the Liste and Cerequoi for their structure, which is demonstrated in Damilanos Barolos.


Cantina Damilano in Piedmont

Damilano winery in Piedmont
Damilano's production is over 460,000 bottles annually and
you can find them in 26 countries with about 50% of their market in America. My Valentines night out at Buono Bistro even had one of Damilano's Barolo on the list. I love when I eat at a restaurant and can look at the wine list knowing I have met the winemaker or visited their estate and have that connection with the land and the people.


Some quick insight for those of you that aren't too familiar with the grape, nebbiolo, which can be found in a few regions in Italy including Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta and Lombardia, but it's most known in the Piedmont region for producing these amazing wines that I have been covering over the past week. Nebbiolo is a late ripening grape being harvested into late October, early November. It's name meaning “fog” originating from the word “nebbia” due to the fog that sets over the Barolo and Barbaresco territories. It has a very thin skin, which is the reason why the color is so light in color for such a bold and powerful wine. This color will turn more orange with age. It can have a very high tannin and alcohol level as well, but this is part of the reason why I love this grape when it's balanced well with its aromatic aromas.


Barolo wine at Damilano Piedmont
For a wine to be labeled a Barolo it must be produced from 100% nebbiolo grapes and be aged at least 2 years in oak and at least 1 year in the bottle, but a riserva must be aged for 5 years prior to release with a least 3 of those years in oak. I will talk more about the difference between Barolo and Barbaresco as I continue to explore Piedmont.

I know many people tend to always go to Tuscany, but I strongly recommend exploring the Piedmont region. It's just as beautiful and the rolling hills seem wider where you can view acres upon acres of vines. It's just stunning!