MALVIRÀ

MALVIRÀ

Piedmont

“I remember my first Arneis” says Roberto Damonte, owner of Malvira winery. “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, 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 saying to me ‘what am I supposed to do with all of this Arneis? I can’t just make roasted rabbit all year!’ So I brought it to my uncle to try to sell a couple bottles to and the next week he came back to me and said ‘do you have anymore?  We’ve sold out!’ I said, ‘what do you mean we’ve sold out?’ ‘The restaurant down the street liked it so much they bought the whole lot.’ For my first experiment, it went well.

“My family’s been here since the 1400s, always in Canale (Roero). It’s something typical to stay and carry on the family business, just like my dad did, just like my brother and I are doing. Now my son finished wine making school and so I sent him to the US for experience, then he went back on his own, then he came back and decided ‘I just want to stay here. It’s in our DNA.” Roberto laughs.

Malvira 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 reign and began slowly turning the family’s bulk wine business into an Estate focusing on quality wine production.

 Today, Malvira’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 Malvira 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. Malvira’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. In addition to Arneis, Malvira produces Favo­ rita, Roero (100% Nebbiolo), Barbera, and Birbet.

Malvira’s Estate spans 104 acres and 6 primary vineyards including Trinita, 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 Trinita 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 Trinita and shares its sedimentary sandy soils and affinity for red grapes, including Nebbiolo and Barbera.

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Wines

Roero Sparkling Arneis Rive Gauche NV

This white sparkler is made from 100% Arneis, the Roero region’s most popular white grape variety. “Rive Gauche” is a clever reference to the Roero district’s position on the “left bank” of the Tanaro River in Piedmont. Fresh aromas of white peach and spring flowers, and a slightly herbal note, complement a savory and balanced palate and a pleasant, dry finish. This is a vibrant Spumante, perfect for an aperitif with friends or to refresh a warm Summer’s day.

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Roero Arneis DOCG

Grapes for this Arneis come from four Estate vineyards in Canale, home to the Roero’s best vineyards for this variety. Traditional perfumes of orchard fruit, exotic white flowers, chamomile and tropical nuances pervade this particularly inviting and expressive Roero Arneis.

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Roero Arneis Trinita DOCG

This single-vineyard Arneis is a stunning wine, laced with white orchard fruit, crushed rocks, mint and white pepper.  The Arneis grapes for this wine come from the bottom portion of the Vigna Trinità, an exceptional south/southwestern-facing hillside vineyard in the Roero.  This is an incredibly expressive Arneis with a sort of crystalline purity.

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Langhe Favorita DOC

“Favorita” is how the Vermentino grape is known in Piedmont and is most widely planted on the left bank of the Tanaro Rivero, in the Roero district. Elegant and aromatic, the Malvira Langhe Favorita is a vibrant and complex white wine expressing notes of citrus, white flowers, melon, peaches and lemon. The Favorita is brimming with bright, balanced acidity and a pleasant slightly bitter finish.

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Langhe Riesling DOC

The Rieslings (the Rhine variety) from Piedmont have become increasingly appreciated in recent years, representing interesting wines of indubitable quality. This is a pale yellow wine with pretty greenish tints, fruity and aromatic with mineral notes on the nose. On the palate, it is dry and elegant with a fresh, pleasant acidity.

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Langhe Bianco Tre Uve DOC

The “Tre Uve” (3 Grapes in Italian) is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Arneis. The wine opens with rich aromas and flavors of fruit, hazelnuts and dairy, which develops into orange peel, apricot, candied fruit and honeyed notes, along with a good bit of French oak. With some age, this white takes on a distinctly exotic feel.

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Barbera D’Alba DOC

This Cru Barbara d’Alba spends 18-20 months in French oak, adding complexity and structure to a complex aromatic profile of mint, black cherry, spice and cassis. Sweet fruit flavors of prune, cherries and vanilla accompany a vibrant structure and gripping tannins for a long finish.

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Barbera d’Alba Superiore San Michele DOC

The grapes for the Barbera d’Alba Superiore also come from the San Michele vineyard, an ideal position and soil type for growing Barbera from its 80 year-old vines. The “Superiore” ages for nearly two years in barrel, resulting in a soft and supple wine with plummy, intense, dark fruit. Delicious and accessible now, this Barbera can also age for a few years.

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Langhe Rosso San Guglielmo DOC

San Guglielmo, a miniscule 3-hectare (7.4 acres) plot in the heart of the Roero, is the winery’s most historic vineyard and has always been planted to the three traditional red Piedmontese grapes that make up this Rosso blend: Barbera (70%), Nebbiolo (25%) and Bonarda Piemontese (5%). The wine is a dense ruby red in color with notes of blackberries, prunes and tobacco on the nose. Powerful, yet smooth and velvety, on the palate with hints of blackberry, vanilla and leather.

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Brachetto Birbet NV

The Birbet is a sparkling red wine made from 100% Brachetto, the black-skinned variety best known for its sweet and frothy dessert wines. This is a fun and fruity, highly aromatic wine with classic perfumes of strawberry, raspberry and red roses. It is lovely paired with chocolate, fruit desserts and panna cotta, but can also accompany savory treats like light antipasti and cheeses.

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Renesium Late Harvest NV

This dessert wine is made from Botrytis grapes (predominantly Arneis with 10% other aromatic varieties) hand-harvested at the end of November and fermented and aged in oak barrels. Rich perfumes of honey, peach and apricot open to reveal a delicious mix of tropical fruits, candied grapefruit peel and caramel. Balanced and long, pairs perfectly with blue cheese, fruit tarts, nut-based desserts and chocolate.

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Roero Nebbiolo DOCG

This 100% Nebbiolo is an intense wine with serious depth and striking tannins that will mellow with some time in the cellar. Bright berry fruit (strawberries, raspberries, black currants) and spice appear first, followed by more savory hints of iron, leather smoke and tobacco. The Roero is a wine of significant character and complexity that will only continue to impress with age.

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Roero Riserva Trinita DOCG

The Trinità is the most elegant and savory of the three Roero Riservas produced by Malvirà. Perfumes of dried rose, spice, black fruits and mint turn to smoke, iron, tobacco, grilled herbs and strawberry preserves on the palate. Firm, well-balanced tannins lend an indisputable energy and vibrancy to the wine, which will undoubtedly continue to evolve for many years to come.

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Roero Riserva Renesio DOCG

This vineyard’s name, Renesio, is thought to be tied to the naming of the local white variety, Arneis. In fact, Malvirà produces both an Arneis and the Roero Riserva from grapes grown on this southeastern-facing hillside in Canale. The wine hits the palate with an explosion of dark cherries and blueberries, mixed with smoke, tobacco, liquorice and even a hint of chocolate. This is a more “masculine” showing of Roero, brooding and earthy with a long life ahead of it.

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Roero Riserva Mombeltramo DOCG

The Mombeltramo Roero Riserva comes from a single vineyard of the same name, known for producing particularly austere wines that soften over time, representing exceptional aging potential. This wine offers a captivating intertwining of aromas, flavors and textures, ranging from sweet red fruit and dried rose to tobacco, game, menthol and liquorice. Powerful and persistent tannins support a precise structure that suggests a long, intriguing evolution.

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