evan damiano

Evan Damiano, J&H Estates, Marchelle Wines plus a 39-year old Barolo

evan damiano

Evan Damiano (center) with (l-r) Dan, Melissa and Chris.

Evan Damiano, winemaker at Marchelle Wines, joins Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country today. Marchelle Wines is Greg La Follette’s label and he was on CWC earlier this year on February 9, on this epiode. Also in the studio today are Melissa Galliani, GM of Wine Country Radio and Chris DiMatteo, producer of this podcast, who has brought and uncorked a 1985 Barolo he has been holding for thirty years.

Evan Damiano started working with wine in 2010 when he worked a harvest in Oregon, then in Australia, at Balletto and then he took a “sojourn” to Milwaukee to try brewing, but that didn’t work out. While living in Milwaukee, he sold high end Cabernets to restaurants, including some prestigious Napa Valley names. The pandemic wrecked his business when everything closed. He wanted to get back into wine and got an offer from Pride Mountain Vineyards. But in 2020, the fires affected them so much that there was no wine to be made. Evan emailed his friend Greg La Follette.

Evan had met Greg when he worked selling wine, Greg’s wines were in his portfolio. He got a job in another winery and in the evening he was helping out at Greg’s winery. Evan got to do more and more under Greg’s supervision and eventually became assistant winemaker then fully titled winemaker.

J&H Estates, Marchelle Wines and Evan’s winemaking lineage

Evan is making some wines now where he is making the picking decisions as well as doing the winemaking. They did a whole-cluster press into new barrels. J & H Estates is owned by two African-American women partners. Evan has brought a bottle of Chardonnay that he made for their label. Greg La Follette’s label is Marchelle Wines, where Evan is the winemaker now. Greg was the last apprentice of André Tchelitscheff and Evan is the last apprentice of Greg La Follette. Evan is proud of this lineage.

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Dan Berger has brought a bottle of his now award-winning Bahl Fratty Riesling. This 2022 has just won a Gold Medal at the Sunset International Wine Competition. They ask Chris to describe it in Italian, which he does. “Proprio secco!” means “really dry!” Quanto costa? (How much does it cost?) Dan Berger answers, $38, having understood the Italian question. Bravo Dan!


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The 1985 Barolo

Chris has brought a bottle of Barolo from 1985, so at 39 years, one of the oldest wines, if not the oldest wine we have ever tasted on this show. Dan Berger waxes eloquent to describe it. Barolo is known for being able to last this long and this one has survived its 39 years with deep complex flavors.

this-is-jazzChris does a jazz radio show called This is Jazz broadcast on Radio Morcote International and this week’s show is a Steve Jaxon tribute show. Steve Jaxon did a show called Swingin’ with Sinatra and Chris’ show this week uses some of Steve Jaxon’s voice work and music programming. You can listen to the weekly one-hour This is Jazz show here at the Radio Morcote International site’s “podcast” page, scroll down to the third item. Find the dropdown menu for several weeks of older shows.

Evan will be pouring Marchelle Wines at Big West Vine Fest at Solar Punk Farms in Guerneville this weekend. It is a new wine festival that is attracting a young crowd. And Dan will be there too pouring his Riesling.

Taste of Sonoma is happening Saturday June 22, 2024. Here is a link to the radio report on CWC from the 2023 Taste of Sonoma.

Evan pours a barrel sample of a Cab that he is about to bottle. Then Dan opens a California Barbera. It’s different than the Italian Barberas. It is good, but in a different way. Piedmont is cooler so the local Barbera isn’t as strong as this California one. It’s warmer here so the Barbera is stronger than the usual common everyday Italian Barbera.


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