Azienda Agricola Demarie has been a family-owned and operated Roero producer for three generations and on Saturday they open the doors to a new winery that is three years in the making.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek prior to the big event. Friends, family, fellow winos, and everyone else: Benvenuto a Demarie.
The Area of Roero
You are probably familiar with the Langhe, Piedmont’s most well-known wine route, home to the Barolo and Barbaresco zones. But, just north of Alba is Roero, another fantastic wine area that great producers like Demarie and Deltetto call home.
Roero DOGC (100% Nebbiolo): 200 vineyard hectares = 800,000 bottles
Roero Arneis DOGC (100% Arneis): 700 vineyard hectares = 5,000,000 bottles
Demarie: The New Cellar
Owner Paolo Demarie invited me for the tour and tasting of the new facility. His energy and excitement was palpable — naturally, this labor of love opens in less than a week.
He explained that the idea behind the new cellar is to make the work as easy as possible with everything in close proximity. With glass walls all around you can see into the cantina (wine making facility) from all vantage points throughout the two tasting rooms.
>> The building is an A+ energy class — Italy’s highest rating.
>> The thickness of the walls (50 cm) and roof (60 cm) keep the temperatures steady and decrease energy use.
>> A pond in front of the building acts as a natural filtration system. The recycled water will be used for gardens and to spray vineyards to kill disease.
>> The facility also features 72 solar panels.
>> The heating system is one of only a few in Piedmont with vegetation generating heat and energy for the entire winery. Next year pruned vines will serve as the heating source.
The Tasting Rooms
The main tasting room seats 20 people at a beautiful long table made from a tree the family lost to lightening.
Each bottle of Demarie wine sits on a wooden block in the glass entryway. The blocks are also made of the fallen tree and at the base will become an exhibition of the soils from the corresponding wine’s vineyard.
Upstairs is a tasting room for 60 people (they thought of everything – there is even a lift for accessibility). Doors open to a patio with fantastic vineyard views for outdoor tastings.
The upstairs also has a large space that will become a hotel in 3 to 5 years with five rooms and a suite.
The building design is a combination of old and new to celebrate the modern and traditional methods of production that make up Piedmont wine production.
The upstairs tasting room features a walk-out ledge in glass overlooking the white steel fermentation tanks. It took some cajoling to get this scaredy cat out there. But, it’s pretty cool.
Demarie uses concrete tanks for the red fermentation. Paolo explained that one of the biggest draws to concrete is how easy they are to clean. But, their tanks add a bit more to the value with 6 cm deep walls. Traditionally producers spend a great deal to constantly monitor the temperature fluctuations in the tank – sudden temp changes shock the wine, which is bad. The red fermentation room is not temperature controlled since that is done in the tanks.
We visited the barrel room where the Roera Riserva DOGC is aged for 18 months in barrique (30% new oak and 70% older oak that has seen two to three vintage cycles). Demarie keeps their oak barriques for 3 to 4 yrs. Roero Riserva requires at least 32 months total aging with a minimum of six months in wood.
They were just starting to move the barriques from the old cantina.
Demarie’s Barbaresco and Barolo are done in botte, the traditional large casks. Paolo explained it’s his way of showcasing the modern and traditional styles of the region. The older DOGCs (Barberesco and Barolo) are traditional while the Roero Riserva is done in a more modern style since its DOGC designation is more recent.
An interesting side note: Paolo explained that they can’t produce their Barolo or Barbaresco at the cantina in Roero because legally it must be done in its respective zone.
The remnants of 2013 Harvest will become grappa. The dried bits smelled fresh and fruity.
Demarie’s Roero Vineyards
The Demarie family has 18 hectares. The one closest to the property is the oldest in the family and is less than 1 hectare. That vineyard was replanted after Paolo’s father and uncle returned from WW2.
Roero vineyards feature sandy soil: Wines are more elegant with softer tanins than Barbaresco and Barolo. They are generally consumed younger as the soil lacks the structure for extended aging.
Demarie’s production is about 110,000 bottles annually with a portfolio of 10 wines including Dolcetto, Barbera, Roero Arneis, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Barolo, Birbet (made of Brachetto grapes), and Moscato d’Asti.
For You, Roero Arneis Spumante Extra Brut: Their Metodo Classico is only made in special years, recent vintages include 2008, 2010, and now 2013. Paolo explained that Arnies is a late season grape, so to create this wine it’s important that the maturity is correct.
Extra dry = less than 3 grams of sugar. They produce 2,500 wines annually and each are marked with a hand written number. After disgorgement Demarie tops the bottle with the same wine – they don’t do any vintage blending. It’s a beautiful glass of bubbles with a sweet front and dry finish.
Roero Riserva DOGC: Paolo is careful with the aging on the Riserva so the oak doesn’t overwhelm the wine. It’s a powerful red throwing pepper and spice on the palate.
Join Demarie for the Grand Opening Saturday, October 26
Address: Via Castellinaldo 16, Vezza d’Alba 12040 Directions
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: 3:30 p.m.
Cellar Tour and Wine / Food Pairing: Following the ribbon cutting guests will receive a welcome drink, then take a tasting stroll through the cellar. Featured food includes Ligurian and Piedmontese products carefully paired with each Demarie wine.
The Time in the Vineyards Photo Exhibition:
There will be also the photo exhibition by photographer Enzo Massa. If you can’t make it on Saturday the exhibit will remain until December 31st, 2013:
- Oct. 26 to Nov. 17th every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Nov. 18th to Dec. 31st, 2013 Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday only by reservation of wine tastings.
A big thank you for the amazing wine tour and tasting. And, congratulations on the opening to Paolo and Monica Demarie. It’s a celebration!
Find Demarie online on the website, on Twitter, and Facebook. Follow the opening festivities with #DemarieOpening.
Salute! Vdawg OUT.
Song Pick! Celebration, Kool & the Gang