I’d like to think that visitors to Il Palazzone never forget our wines but the reality is that few people who drive to the property ever forget the rollercoaster white-knuckle ride that it takes to get to us. We may only be a kilometre from the centre of town, but it is 900 metres of steep, dusty, pot-holed road, with a drybrick wall on one side and a ravine on the other.
In anticipation of the building work for our new cellar we widened the road where possible and removed the blind-corner-on-a-hill so beloved by our guests.
This said, it was some job getting the 9 metres of roof-beams on site, not to mention the recent delivery of three 5.000 litre wood fermentation tanks.
From 2011 vintage onwards we will be fermenting in these beautiful oaken barrels instead of in stainless steel. The tannins in the oak are an anti-oxidant. This, combined with the micro-oxigenation permitted by the wood, gives wines that are more “limpido” with increased stability of aromatics and tannins.
The tanks weigh in at around 1000 kg each so navigating them up our hill and around the bends was quite something, not to mention squeezing them into our temporary cellar space. In order to get them functional we need to fill them up with water for 48 hours to see if they leak.
As I write in my tasting room, the heady slightly-sickening aroma of fermentation is wafting through the building. The sounds of swearing shouting men have finally abated and the barrels are in place, ready for harvest and fermentation next week.