DEMARIE WINES: TASTE ITALIAN TYPICITY
By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”
If you were to gently soar over the heart of the Italian Piedmont wine district and then dip down amid the undulating hills – you would touchdown in the renowned Langhe region. Many people are 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 exceptional wine area. The sunlit hillsides are home to an amazing range of grape varietals that represent the backbone of Italy’s most respected wines and wineries. Among those wineries, one stands out to me, Demarie Wines.
Demarie winery is on the Roero side of the Tanaro River. The vineyards are on both sides of the river in 14 different locations producing, in my opinion, some of the best wines of the Piedmont.
The story of this winery begins with a man who believed in the potential of his land. He chose to live his vision through wine. Bartolomeo Demarie is the founder of the Demarie winery. Since its founding in 1957, three generations have kept up his dream by cultivating 74 special acres that yield exemplary examples of the region’s unique terroir. The Demarie Giovanni family calls the region and the village of Vezza d’Alba home.
The winery continues to grow by using traditional production methods, with special attention towards protecting biodiversity. “Our wines are a symbol of the territory, and as such, they are produced with the utmost respect for the ecosystem.” To do this, the family applies the rules of integrated pest management practices, making sure every agricultural phase is sustainable and appropriate for each micro-area. Important and thoughtful choices are made in the areas of pruning, thinning and harvesting, and careful selection of the final bunches of grapes that guarantees quality wines. Soft pressing, fermentation at controlled temperatures, and aging in wood all augment the natural characteristics of the grapes while maintaining their aromatic integrity.
The Roero area showcases a unique terroir, producing great wines. As of this writing, it is unfortunately still not that well known. Mass tourism has yet to find the area and the Demarie wines are not all that easy to find in the US. Most of their imported wines are placed in selected restaurants, hotels, and cafes. There are a few in locally owned wine shops. So why am I writing about a wine that you may have to really put some effort into finding? Because they are exceptional. My advice? If you see it anywhere, buy it. These are generally “sweet spot” wines in the $12-25 range. If you visit the wine region, Demarie does have a nice tasting room you can taste at.
There are plenty of notable Langhe Red Wines: Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d’Alba along with Barbera d’Alba, Langhe Dolcetto and the sweet Birbet sparkling wine, produced from Brachetto grapes, but today we look at two white wines; Demarie Roero Arneis and Moscato D’Asti.
Rorero Arneis 2019
In traditional local culture, the name Arneis is given to someone who is an extrovert, a bit of a rascal, original but with charm. It is a delicate white wine grape that originated (and is still primarily grown) in the Roero hills of Italy’s southern Piedmont, just north of Alba. It thrives in the chalky and sandy soil of this region. The sandy terroir creates a full intense aroma. The limestone and clay construct a strong body and structure. Try the heavenly recipe included with this article as a Diva Approved pairing with this wine.
This wine is made from 100% Arneis grapes. In the glass it presents with a pleasant shade of straw. On the nose expect floral as well as fruity. Peach, apricot, and chamomile in the mouth are intertwined nicely in a surprisingly dry full-bodied presentation. Almonds on the aftertaste are surprising. Best served at 47-50 °F. This is a versatile wine. Serve it as our welcome wine. Standing alone or with hors d’oeuvres this wine shines. It will also match nicely with a vegetable course, fish or poultry. Buy it and open it now.
Today Moscato grape can be found in a hilly range of 52 tiny villages running through three provinces in South Piedmont. The latest scientific research tells us that the Moscato grape was actually the first grape ever cultivated, the progenitor of the entire vine-growing industry, and the mother of all the infinite varieties that have evolved to this day.
Interestingly, each year this grape is pressed as vintners used to press it in the seventeenth century. Wine-presses with rollers are used to achieve a smooth pressing, separating the solids, skins, and stalks, by using presses that apply a soft pressure to preserve the full flavor of the grape. The juice is transferred into stainless steel containers and kept cool to prevent fermentation.
Moscato D’Asti is on the sweet and bubbly side. If you have had Asti Spumante (a sweet sparkling white wine made in and around the village of Asti in Piedmont) you’ll get the general idea EXCEPT the Demarie Moscato D’Asti is a less sweet, with finer bubbles and more “adult.”
You can definitely serve this 100% white Moscato wine to your friends who say they only like “sweet” wines. It has a low alcoholic content. It is fruity and fragrant with a luscious musky aroma of the Moscato grape. It pairs well with all pastry, cakes, cookies, and semi-soft cheese infused with apricot bits.
The Demarie family has always made wines using their own grapes with an emphasis on local terroir and the characteristics of native vines. The typicity (a term in wine tasting used to describe the degree to which a wine reflects its varietal origins and thus demonstrates the signature characteristics of the grape from which it was produced) of their wines tell us at first swirl and sip that each wine is true to its region and vine.
RECIPE: RISOTTO WITH ARNEIS & CHOPPED HAZELNUT
Compliments of Demarie Winery
Ingredients (3 people)
250 gr rice
1 big golden onion, chopped fine
Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Arneis wine or more
Vegetable broth, as needed (hot is best)
Toasted, chopped hazelnut
Parmigiano, to serve
1) In a wide saucepan, pour in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté until golden and cooked well, about ten minutes.
2) When the onion is cooked, toss in the rice and coat with oil. Stir 2-3 minutes, just until the rice is toasted – you might start to hear little popping noises. Add in the white wine, half a cup or more depending on taste, and let it reduce about 2 minutes. The moment it starts bubbling, start counting the minutes according to the rice cooking time.
3) Now start adding the vegetable broth, a few ladles at a time, making sure it just covers the rice. Here is where hot broth is good: if you add cool broth, it adds to the cooking time. After each amount of broth, wait until the rice absorbs it before adding more. You will see the bottom of the pan when you stir.
4) Test your rice for doneness in the last several minutes.
5) Allow to cool for several minutes before serving. Serve with a grating of Parmigiano and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts.
Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info