The Malvira estate was established the 1950's by father Giuseppe Damonte, originally on a bad position (Mal means “badly” and Vira means “situated” in local Piemontese dialect), facing north instead of south. Today Giuseppe's two sons split the responsabilities. Massimo (and his son) manage the vineyards while Roberto does the cellar work. After moving to a new and better location (outside of the city Canale) they’ve slowly build a magnificent winery, having now 42 hectares (with 60% of white grapes), almost entirely in the Roero region. The terroir is mostly calcaire-sandy which is perfect for Arneis, the typical white grape of this region. Furthermore, they also produce some nice Nebbiolo Roero, as we noticed during the tasting. For the Arneis wines, they use the big barrels of 450 litres from older wood or inox tanks. These large tanks are perfect for educating the wine “sur lie”. For the red wines they buy approximately 60 new French oak barrels a year, for which they built a new big cellar in 2000, deep under the ground. And they have a huge stock of almost a million bottles!
But a big winery and a huge stock doesn't stand in the way of elegant wines. We started the tasting with an Arneis 2009. A wine with a lot of yeast but still very enjoyable. After all, the yeast reduces the more oxidative flavors, like it does with Champagne. The Spumante we had afterwards consists of 30% Arneis on old wooden barrels, 40% Chardonnay and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. White peach and spring flowers in the nose and perfect for a poached egg with white truffles and some parmesan cheese or a nice trout. After that we went on with the red wines, starting with a Nebbiolo Roero 2009. This wine was slightly different from the Nebbiolo's we had the days before. This Nebbiolo was perfect for an aperitif! In a blind tasting they did, with seven (mostly white) wines to pair with raw tuna, this red wine came out first! The Nebbiolo Roero 2007 was more classic, funny (and good) that years can differ that much. The wine had a very soft aftertaste from the malolactic fermentation and very typical persistent tannins. In one way these tannins resemble the tannins you have in the Barolo's from the Serralunga side, but when they are very cohesive in Barolo they jump around in the Roero. That’s how you recognize a Nebbiolo Roero! They had a Barolo Boiolo as well, but we strongly believe that you have to go for the Roero Arneis and Nebbiolo.
It was a very pleasant visit, we had a nice meal in their restaurant afterwards. They offer three formulas for tasting, 3 wines for free, a paid tasting including more wines and a longer visit or a custom made tasting if the visitor wants something special to taste. In 2001 they opened there agriturismo Villa Tiboldi (http://www.villatiboldi.com) a truly delightful place, as the picture shows.