Wineries of the Month
The Damilano family business dates back to 1890 when Giuseppe Borgogno began to vinify his own estate wines. It is with great passion that Giacomo Damilano, the founder’s son-in-law, developed with his children a love for the vineyards, selecting and caring for them with great care in order to improve the quality of the wines. Over time, the winery’s production was transformed into a jewel that was passed down with pride in 1997 to Giacomo’s grandchildren, who continue to manage the winery today. Paolo, Mario and Guido Damilano, the fourth generation, have brought new vigor to the family business while upholding Damilano’s historic production philosophy: high quality wines can only come from high quality grapes. With the assistance of agronomist Giampiero Romana and enologist Beppe Caviola, Damilano continues to hone and improve each vintage. Ambassadors of Barolo, the Damilano line culminates in several single vineyardcrus that explore the vast and nuanced expression of Nebbiolo in this region.
The Rabajà vineyard is one of the most historic, famous, and sought-out crus of Barbaresco. Here is where our family made history. Our grandparents Rocca Francesco and Bo Maria Adelaide purchased it in 1958, with its farmhouse of the same name. It is where the seat of our winery sits today.
We are deeply proud and in love with this cru; it is our “royal” vineyard. We take care of it day after day, striving to transfer its extraordinary characteristics into wine.
It gives us top-quality labels that will age for years to come, with aromas, typicity, and powerful but balanced tannins. A unique cru that never disappoints.
Winery of the Month
Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery
A former family ranch still is home to a grape arbor planted in the 19th century. Today, Dana and Marsha Merrill and son Matthew farm the vineyards, while Matthew’s winemaking is complemented by winemaker par excellence, Jim Shumate.
After nearly 30 years of growing grapes for many of the finest wineries in California, ranging from ultra premium small producers to the largest international brands, the Merrill’s decided to produce their own wines. In addition to the family estate, the finest blocks of grapes from Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties are selected from vineyards managed by a sister firm, Mesa Vineyard Management, Inc. All wines produced are exclusively farmed by the Merrill’s who believe that control from planting and pruning through harvest, fermentation and cellaring is critical for success. It also ensures a uniform dedication to Sustainability, which led our recent Certification to the SIP program within the Central Coast Vineyard Team.The family believes in community and industry involvement. Dana Merrill was the first San Luis Obispo County Chair of the California Assn of Winegrape Growers, a charter member of the pioneering vineyard Sustainability group, the Central Coast Vineyard Team and is a past two term Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.
ITALIAN Wines of the Month
2015 Araldica Barbera d’Asti “Albera”
Aromas of dark-skinned berry, forest floor and clove appear in the glass. The straightforward palate offers mature black plum, licorice and white pepper alongside velvety tannins. Serve with pasta, beef, or lamb.
2017 Araldica Gavi Luciana
Light straw color. Crisp fresh on the palate with hints of lemon fresh, cut grass, apple, and pear. Light to medium body with a refreshing dry finish. Pairs nicely with mild cheeses, light pasta dishes, or a refreshing salad.
2017 Damilano Barbera D’Asti
Intense purple red in color with a fruity and light spicy bouquet and light spicy notes. Palate has notes of currant, violet, cherry and with a touch of vanilla. Persistent finish. Serve with Pasta, veal, pork, game, or poultry.
2016 Giuseppe Cortese Nebbiolo Langhe DOC
Bright, translucent garnet red with aromas of raspberry, red currant, blood orange peel, cherry, rose petals. Medium bodied, soft tannins with a long floral finish. Pair with wild mushroom and red wine risotto.
2017 Damilano Langhe Arneis
Full of ripe white peach, green apple, raw almond and savory notes on the palate, the wine naturally often smells of vanilla and white flowers, making it a fantastic summer sipper, porch wine and in Piedmont, apertivo wine. Serve with mild cheese, prosciutto, white fish, or pesto.
2013 Damilano Lecinguevigne Barolo
#8 wine in VinePair’s Top 50 of 2018 Ruby red with orange reflections. The bouquet is intense with tertiary notes of rose, leather, tobacco, and emerging notes of violet. The taste is ample and embracing, with a soft, persistent finish. Barolo Lecinquevigne is perfect with red and braised meat, game and aged cheese.
2014 Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco Rabaja DOCG
Balsam, leather, perfumed berry, pressed blue flower and dark spice aromas lead the way in this elegant, vibrant red. The savory, focused palate offers red cherry, tobacco, licorice and ground clove flavors set against a backdrop of bright acidity and firm, refined tannins.
ITALIAN Region of the Month
Half of Piemonte, which means “foot of the mountain,” lies in the great arc of the Alps and the Apennines, from which the Po River flows east through its broad valley to the Adriatic. Bordering Switzerland and France, Piemonte was part of the Frenchspeaking principality of Savoy between the 11th and 18th Centuries. The ancient Liguri tribes first cultivated the wild vines of the Apennines and later learned wine making from the Greeks about 600 BC. In the 19th Century, the wines of Piemonte gained distinction when the Savoy and others began to use French methods. Piemonte has 58 DOC and DOCG zones, more than any other region. In the Langhe hills above the town of Alba are the vineyards of Barolo, one of Italy’s most prestigious wines, “the king of wines and the wine of kings,” although Barbaresco may be its equal, both wines made from the noble Nebbiolo vine. Barbera and Dolcetto are popular reds. Whites are equally prominent. Asti Spumante from Moscato d’Asti is the nation’s second DOCG in volume after Chianti. Among still whites, Gavi from the Cortese grape is highly regarded along with Arneis.
CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month
2016 Pomar Junction Picnic Chardonnay
Fresh, crisp on the palate with bright citrus and apple flavors and a natural underlying richness. Pairs nicely with an arugula and gorgonzola salad.
2017 Pomar Junction Fiesta Red
58% Tempranillo, 27% Merlot, 15% Syrah
A full and round palate, earthy flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and cured meats flow into a lengthy finish with substantial tannins, black pepper, and black currants. Pairs well with many kinds of dishes, but especially barbecue and savory dishes with or without seasoning.
2017 Pomar Junction Viognier
100% Estate Viognier
This is a dry, crisp Viognier with a tropical and floral nose. It is a fruit forward Viognier exhibiting lime and pear flavors on the palate, with a lingering peach and honeysuckle finish. Pair with freshly shucked oysters or white sea bass.
2015 Pomar Junction Zinfandel Paso Robles
100% Estate Zinfandel
This wine’s intense flavors and supple tannins pair with rich meats such as rosemary garlic rack of lamb, roasted duck with grilled vegetables or a hearty beef stew. It is an elegant wine, with low pH, and good acidity. Capable of cellar aging for 5 to 10 years, but is enjoyable now as well.
2013 Pomar Junction Petite Sirah
100% Petite Sirah
Full bodied with layers of luscious ripe tannins. Aromas of plum are followed by notes of black pepper and vanilla. Layers of bold, velvety tannins coat your tongue immensely. Enjoy with smoked meats, pork tenderloin and hard cheeses.
42% Syrah, 33% Mouvedre, 25% Grenache
Our classic Rhone blend displays a floral nose with hints of black currant, black cherry, blueberry and a hint of leather and tobacco. A savory mouth feel is supported by flavors of red and black fruits, sweet spices, with a distinctive lingering finish of supple tannins. Pair with beef, lamb, or poultry.
2014 Pomar Junction Cab Forward
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 25% Merlot
Opulent wine that delivers notes of licorice, chocolate, black cherry, plum, blackberry, spice combined with incredibly silky tannins. Serve with rich pasta dishes, aged cheeses, steak, or lamb.
CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month
San Luis Obispo
Grapes were first introduced into the Paso Robles area, in 1797 by missionaries. They planted more than one thousand vines. Commercial wine growing, however, wasn’t started until the 1880s. Since 1990, when there were fewer than 20 wineries in Paso Robles, a large expansion of activity has seen the number rise to more than 200 wineries today.The Paso Robles AVA is acknowledged for its heritage grape, Zinfandel, but has gained recognition from a wider range of grape varietals as well. In the 1950s and 1960s, growers began to plant Bordeaux varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. In the 1980s, there were increased plantings of many Rhône varieties, including the first Syrah planted in California, as well as Viognier and Roussanne. The emerging popularity of the region’s wines led it to become the first site of the annual “Hospice du Rhône” conference on Rhône style wine. Today, Paso Robles Wine Country is receiving attention for its unique blends. These wines are unique to the area, and with varietal make-ups that do not follow traditional rules and expectations of winemaking, as characteristic in other regions of the wine world.
DINNER WITH DEBRA
By Debra Williams
Tuscan Portobello Stew
Taste of Home. I love a fresh soup with wine. Great for the cool spring evenings.
2 large Portobello mushrooms coarsely chopped
1 medium chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup white wine or vegetable broth
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups fresh kale
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans, 15 oz., cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic in oil until tender. Add wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, kale, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Add beans, heat through. Discard bay leaf.