"Making the Roero famous"
Today, Malvirà's wines are produced from Estate fruit, organically farmed across 104 acres and 6 vineyards. Over the years, they have been one of the most ardent proponents of the Arneis grape. 42 of their 104 acres are devoted to the propagation of Arneis. It is the wine for which Malvirà is renowned. In 2007, the Damontes purchased the Renesio vineyard, which they leased since 1983. Renesio is the cru from which the Arneis grape was identified in 1478. In fact, it is unknown which came first, the name of the vineyard, or the name of the grape! GRAPES Arneis is an ancient, fragrant and vibrant white-grape variety known the world over as the "little rascal." This endearing phrase is a direct translation of Arneis in the Piemontese dialectic. Plantings of Arneis were in severe decline in the 20th century. As recently as 20 years ago, there were fewer than 60 acres under plantation. Today, the grape has made a strong recovery and is the most widely planted white grape of Piedmont. This is in part to the efforts of passionate producers of Arneis, like Malvirà. Without careful farming, Arneis can result in a neutral and bland wine. According to Massimo Damonte, who oversees viticulture at his Estate, the secret to great Arneis lies in old vines. Malvirà's average vine age for Arneis is 40‐50 years old. Vine age naturally helps to inhibit yields, allowing the plant to channel more of its energy in producing lesser quantities of higher quality fruit. The dimensions of flavors vary based on the type of soil and the mesoclimate of the vineyard. On stony, calcareous soils, Arneis tends toward citrus and apple with a Chablis‐like minerality. From more sedimentary clay soils, Arneis often exhibits rounder fruit flavors with tropical undertones. In addition to Arneis, Malvirà produces Favorita, Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Birbet.
VINEYARDS Malvirà's Estate spans 104 acres and 6 primary vineyards including Trinità, Renesio, Saglietto, San Michele, San Guglielmo, and Mombeltramo. All vineyards are farmed organically. The Roero was at one time completely immersed by the sea. Its many soil types are distinguished by this geological history. Generally speaking there is more oceanic sedimentary and sandy soil found in the Roero, as compared to the neighboring parts of the Langhe (Barolo and Barbaresco). It is not uncommon to find fossilized shells in vineyards. The Trinità vineyard is sedimentary in nature with a high portion of sand. The upper part of the south‐facing slope is planted to Nebbiolo, where the grape can ripen to its fullest potential. The lower part of the hill is planted to Arneis. The Renesio vineyard is rich in calcareous marl and planted with Arneis and Nebbiolo. Saglieto is contiguous to Renesio and shares similar soils, though with a bit more clay resulting in a denser wine. It is planted exclusively to white grapes, including Arneis and Favorita. San Michele has calcareous clay soils and is planted to Barbera. San Guglielmo, the family's most historic vineyard, borders Trinità and shares its sedimentary sandy soils and affinity for red grapes, including Nebbiolo and Barbera.
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This Arneis comes from four vineyards: Trinità, Renesio, and Saglietto. It is fermented in stainless steel, where it rests on the lees for five months. It is a fresh wine with green apple, grapefruit pith, lemon, white flowers, and mineral.
Trinità is the vineyard that surrounds the winery and the historic Villa Tiboldi Agriturismo. With sedimentary soils of calcareous clay and sand, the wines is steely and pure. It is fermented in stainless steel, after which 10% of the wine is transferred to neutral French oak for 6 months. Trinità is a complex wine with white peach, linden, honey, and flinty minerality.
Favorita is the local name for Vermentino, named such as it was the favored grape of Piemontese Royalty. Malvirà's Favorita comes from the Trinità, Saglietto, and Bossola vineyards. The wine has lovely weight and mouthfeel, with aromas and flavors of Bosc pear, yellow peach, and pineapple with blossom and a lengthy, textured finish.
Malvirà's Roero Rosso is 100% Nebbiolo from the Trinità and Mombeltramo vineyards. It is vinified in stainless steel and aged in French oak for 18-‐24 months before bottling. The wine has aromas of dark red fruits, roses, dried tobacco, and spice. On the palate, the wine has black cherry, and plum with red licorice, violets, dried tobacco and baking spices. The tannins are sweet and integrated.
Birbet is the local, Piemontese dialect name for the Brachetto Lungo grape. Malvirà's Birbet is small production and limited in availability. The wine is made in the Charmat, or tank method, resulting in a lightly sparkling, subtly sweet wine below 7% abv. Birbet is deliciously charming with a nose of wild strawberry, raspberry, peach, and hibiscus tea that carry through onto the palate.