I first encountered Damilano’s wines at a tasting dinner at Planet of the Grapes. These are wines that have undergone a recent shift in style, being more overtly oaked in barriques in the ‘modern’ style up until 2008.
Since then, they have returned to more ‘classical’ larger oak maturation in botti, in an attempt to give more transparency of terroir expression.
They have a nicely-appointed walk-in tasting room in the centre of the attractive (and very clean) centre of the village of Barolo, alongside other noteworthy producers like Giacomo Borgogno. And a corkscrew museum.
Their recently re-designed labels use different, wire-frame, stylised chess pieces for each cru on label, as can be seen with the Queen representing Cannubi in the top image. These are a play on Barolo’s title as ‘Wine of kings and king of wines’, as well as a metaphor because chess is a game that takes time, as should appreciation of the wine.
From the tasting room visit, in order tasted. A = Appearance, N = Nose, P = palate; scores are out of 20.
Damilano Barolo Brunate 2013 (17.5 / 20)
The famous Brunate cru from the La Morra commune, in the highly regarded, ripe and concentrated 2013 vintage, is from a site with more clay soils so produces wines of greater power. Damilano have a 0.5Ha plot in the south west of the 25Ha cru.
A: Mid-garnet with a brick rim
N: Deep nose. Hint of mint. Tar. Ripe black cherry. Dense. Closed. Subtle spice. Savoury. Brooding
P: Power. Dense black fruit, tar. High, fine tannins. Rich. Crisp acidity. Warming.
Damilano Barolo Cannubi 2013 (18 / 20)
Damilano have 2Ha in the core of the 35Ha, Cannubi cru with sandier soils, in the Barolo commune. The sandy soils give more elegance. Also in Barolo they have 4Ha of Boschis and 4Ha of Valetta.
A: Mid brick-garnet
N: Floral, petals, elegance – expressive. Some tarriness emerges. Classic Barolo. Hint of flint. Dense. Shows vintage quality
P: Medium body. Elegant, bright acidity; less powerful, lighter and sleeker. Spice, tea, savoury mineral mid-palate (anthracite). Medium-high tannins. Long, creamy finish
Damilano Barolo Liste 2012 (16.5 / 20)
The Liste cru is just 4Ha, 2Ha of which belong to Damilano and 2Ha to the Borgogno family. Soils are 15% sand, and it sits in front of Cannubi. This is the oldest, most classical style and most difficult to appreciate. From the good, but lighter 2012 vintage as this needs more maturation to open.
A: Mid brick
N: Hint of VA? Mint. Rose. Lifted. Not so forward. Earthy – fresh earth. Subtle spice. Hint of tomato leaf. Masculine
P: Fresh orange peel and red cherry. Smoky, very powerful mid-palate. Spice. Tar. Full, but fine-grained tannins. Vanilla-cream hint at finish. Medium-long length. Warming