Malvirà | Two Brothers, One Passion
Azienda Agricola Malvirà was established in 1950 by Giuseppe Damonte, a man with a passion for farming and wine. To the Damontes, Roero is home: the last name was already in use in the 1300s in the region.
The Roero DOCG, in the hills of Piedmont, is known for its Nebbiolo, producing oak aged, bold reds. The area’s winemakers understood early on that the Nebbiolo produced here had distinct aromatic characteristics than those of the neighbouring Langhe.
Giuseppe’s intent was to bottle the soul of the land he loved. Malvirà, named so after the old 19th century headquarters of the winery, refers to the exposure of the courtyard, which faces north instead of the traditional south-facing courtyard found in rural tradition (translated literally, Malvirà means “badly turned”). Giuseppe’s sons, Massimo and Roberto, inherited the winery from their father, and with it a winemaking philosophy that puts the Roero region at its core: Malvirà creates expressive and refined wines, with the family’s passion obvious in every glass.
Today, the third generation carries on the family tradition using the experience of their fathers and grandfather. Roberto is now the self-appointed “old man” of the family, having been making wine since 1977. His son Giacomo became an oenologist in 2012 and his nephew Pietro graduated just a few months ago. Together, the growing family of winemakers aim to produce wines that reflect the Roero DOCG in its purest and noblest form.
Different vineyard exposures and peculiarities of the soil allow them to produce wines with a well-defined personality. The Nebbiolos produced in the Roero DOCG show a great harmony with intense aromas yet softer and sweeter tannins than those of Barolo or Barbaresco, while maintaining the same excellent aging potential.
Family tradition, experience and deep respect for the land are the guiding principles at Malvirà. Roberto explains: “I think that the less you intervene in the transformation processes, the more you can get in terms of complexity and evolution potential of the wines in the bottle. In the cellar, we just shepherd the natural processes by controlling the temperatures and the times and conditions of the contact with the pomace and the lees. With this method, excellent wines can be obtained by avoiding the use of most chemicals. The health of the grapes, all hand-picked, and the hygiene in the cellar allow us to obtain exceptional products with minimal intervention.”
On top of being expert winemakers, the Damontes have been running Villa Tiboldi since 2003. The Villa is a resort with rooms and a restaurant. Roberto’s approach in the restaurant is similar to his approach to wine: starting from the land and personally following the entire process, all the way up to the table. “We always wanted to play all these roles in the vineyard, cellar, and in hospitality, in order to make people better understand what we believe wine is. Commitment and labour in the vineyard, care in the cellar and freshness of the products on the market are key elements to what we do, and even more so at the table where a serving temperature or a wrong glass can compromise the result of years of hard work.”