- The Torraccia del Piantavigna team
- Mattia Donna, our enologist
The cellars are where a lot of the magic happens in a winery, it’s where the biological and chemical processes of ageing take place. Our wines are vinified either for drinking young, in which case they are aged for a short period in steel, or for ageing, in which case they are aged in oak for at least eighteen months and often many years.
The oak barrel essentially does two things: it allows a very slow introduction of oxygen into the wine through the wood, which tends to soften the tannins and rough edges present at the end of fermentation, and adds complexity; and it imparts the character of the wood into the wine. (The younger and the smaller the barrel the greater is the wood effect). Ageing is much about finding the right balance between maintaining the original fruit freshness of the wine whilst adding the softer wood flavours of vanilla, butter, leather etc. without overpowering the original flavours nor eliminating the crispness and bite. The optimum effect is achieved by a careful combination of the choice of wood, the size of cask and the length of ageing.
Our cellars, which date back to the beginning of the 1970s, have recently been expanded to allow us to now store a total of 678,000 litres. Whilst we still use a combination of a number of different cask sizes and origins from barriques upwards, experience from ageing our Ghemme and Gattinara wines has taught us that we obtain the best results from 2,500-litre Allier French oak casks, which now represent over 50% of our storage capacity. Our cellar is particularly proud of its massive Slavonian oak barrels with a capacity of 8,000 and 15,000 litres. Once these were the primary method of storing wine but, today, they help to maintain the fine bouquet so typical of the wines of Alto Piemonte.
The specification for Ghemme D.O.C.G. requires that the wine be further aged for at least 6 months in bottle, when micro-oxidisation through the cork allows the wine to further soften and develop. At Torraccia, the bottles are stored in a specially created environment where the temperature and the level of humidity remain constant throughout the year.