2013 Nebbiolo ‘Marghe’ Damilano - 538 Wine Notes

The Langhe in the Piedmont region is the all-encompassing area lying due south of Alba and the Tanaro River in the province of Cuneo. Barolo and Barbaresco both lie with its boundaries. (If Beverly Hills and Bel Air where Barolo and Barbaresco, Alba would be West Hollywood and Langhe is LA County). Damilano produces highly regarded Barolos and Barbarescos as well. This bottling includes Nebbiolo grapes from the larger area so is referred to as Langhe Nebbiolo. This is a great bottle with the high acid and high alcohol that makes Nebbiolos exciting, and can be tempered with financial earnest. 

Nebbiolo is the oldest and most noble native varietal in Piedmont. It most likely takes its name from the Italian word for fog, “nebbia”, which is very common in the hills of Alba, especially in early to mid-October when this late-ripening variety is harvested. It is often called the “queen of black grapes” as it needs meticulous and laborious care.  Nebbiolo d’Alba is a member of the fine Alba wines made from Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe, Barolo and Barbaresco. 

Starting with the 2009 vintage, this wine features a label “Marghe” celebrating the memory of Margherita Damilano, who tragically passed away in 2010.

The vineyards in Alba were planted between 1961 and 1981. Once harvested, the skins soaked with the juice, we call it maceration, for 20 days. Damilano only uses native, wild yeast for fermentation in oak. The wine is then aged for 16 months in French barrels of which 40% are new.

I can always detect Nebbiolo in a blind tasting because my two front teeth become very dry, almost as like you dry a tooth with a napkin. That is that upfront acidity and alcohol combination. I love to enjoy it with strong, sticky cheeses, game, duck – even lacquered Chinese duck. I love that fact that it’s an aggressive wine but not heavy. 

aris hovsepian