Damilano Barolo is a wine that I have known for a number of years. In fact, I have a magnum of the 2000 vintage. The producer’s wines always seemed to lean a little to the “modern side” but never went over to the “dark side.” I was invited to a tasting of four Barolo’s form the winery and looked forward to going because I had heard that there were some changes taking place.
The speaker was Beppe Caviola, winemaker for Damilano. He has been at Damilano for 15 years and consults for other wineries in the area. The same family has owned the winery since 1890.
Beppe caught my attention right away when he said that for the Barolo 2008 vintage, he was returning to the more traditional methods. Longer maceration and large wooden barrels (botti) made from Salvonian oak are now being used. Terroir is very important he said and one should not only be able to tell that the wine is Barolo but also which area it comes from, for example, La Morra or Castiglione Falletto. The use of new barriques covers the wine’s characteristics and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to tell where the wine comes from. He felt that many producers in Barolo were now going back and respecting tradition and getting away from the oaky, over concentrated wines of a few years ago. He said that 2008 was a great vintage for Barolo.
Barolo “ Lecinquevigne” 2008 the name means the five vineyards. 100% Nebbiolo. This is their basic Barolo. The grapes come from the municipalities of Barolo, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra and Novello. The vines are 30 to 50 years old and the soil is calcareous-clay. 20% of the wine is aged in used barriques for 24 months and 80% in large wooden barrels. The wine has flavors and aromas of red fruit, a touch of violet and a hint of tobacco.
Barolo “Liste” 2008. 100% Nebbiolo, the single vineyard Liste is in the municipality of Barolo. The vines are more then 35 years old, the exposure is east and the soil is calcareous-clay. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled tanks for 20 days. Ageing for 24 months in tonneaux- 40% new and 60% second and third passage. There are aromas and flavors of blackberries, with hints of tobacco and licorice.
Barolo Brunate 2006. 100% Nebbiolo, the single vineyard Brunate is in the municipality of La Morra. The vines are 30 years old and the exposure is south-southeast. The soil is calcareous-clay with a good percentage of sand. Fermentation in temperature controlled tanks. Aging is the same as above. This wine was almost ready to drink it had hints of red berries, tobacco and cinnamon.
Barolo “Cannubi” 2008 100% Nebbiolo, the single vineyard Cannubi is in the municipality of Barolo. The vines are 30 to 50 years old with a south-southeast exposure. The vineyard is at 280 meters. Beppe explained that Cannubi is a long hill that rises above the town of Barolo and extends northeast for the better part of a mile. Geologically it is unique among the terroirs of Barolo. Cannubi is at the intersection of two stratas, the blue gray Tortonian marl and the buff colored Helvetian sandstone. Beppe said the Cannubi is the best vineyard in the production area because of this particular soil composition. The soil is 45% sand, 35% silt and 20% clay. This presence of a high percentage of fine sand, clay and some limestone give Cannubi its unique characteristics of finesse and elegance. Temperature-controlled fermentation for 20 days. The wine is aged in large oak barrels 30 to 50 HL. This an elegant Barolo with hints of cherry, plum, tobacco, licorice, leather, a touch of white truffles, a long finish and a very pleasant aftertaste. Beppe was very proud of this wine and rightfully so. $85
I was very impressed with all the wines. There were no false notes; they all expressed the true characteristics of the Nebbiolo grape.
Beppe also said I should drink my magnum of the 2000 very soon!