Making the Roero famous
Malvirà was established in the 1950s by Giuseppe Damonte, at a time when the Roero's potential was yet unrealized. Giuseppe had a great passion for farming and wine, a passion that he passed on to his two sons, Roberto and Massimo. In 1974, Roberto and Massimo took the reigns and began slowly turning the family's bulk wine business into an Estate focusing on quality wine production.
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!
Arneis needs careful farming. 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. O In addition to Arneis, Malvirà produces Favorita, Roero (100% 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. Saglietto 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 with 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.
Roberto Damonte: “I remember my first Arneis. I was 15, studying to be a winemaker, and at the time my family only made red wines. I wanted to try making Arneis, but we didn’t have any space in the cellar, so I had to put it in large jugs in our garage where at least it was cold in order to stop the malolactic fermentation. I made 500 bottles and I remember my mother asking me, what she was supposed to do with all of this Arneis? She could not just make roasted rabbit all year and use it for the sauce. So I brought it to my uncle to try to sell a couple bottles to some clients of his. The next week, he came back to me and asked me if I had more. The restaurant down the street liked it so much that they bought the whole lot. For my first Arneis experiment, it went very well.”
List of wines
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.
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.
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.
This medium bodied Barbera d'Alba is a delightful wine, that pairs excellently to most pasta dishes as well as entrees. The wine was named by the little church St. Michele, that is located in the vineyard.
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.
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.
This late harvest semi sweet dessert wine is a tasty mix of apricot and candied grapefruit peel and clove marks.