- Grapes arriving in the winery
- Grape selection
- Arrival of the grapes
- Decanting the must
- Decanting the must
- Stainless-steel vats
- Grape marc
- Grapes being unloaded
- Checking out the vats
- Measuring the level of alcohol in the grape must
- The Torraccia del Piantavigna team
The vinification: our wine maker is our young enologist Mattia Donna, who studied Enology at the University of Milan under Attilio Scienza and Osvaldo Failla. Stefano Gallarate, our technical manager, despite his young age, has years of winery experience behind him. The internal team is supported by the experience of Beppe Caviola, our consultant enologist, generally recognized as one of the leading Italian enologists and the point of reference for Nebbiolo. The winery is known for its experimentation and advanced approach to vinification whilst respecting the traditions of our terroir.
There is no truth in the myth that the Nebbiolo wines of Alto Piemonte are less structured than those of the Langhe. In general, the greater extracts from our wines compared to those of the Langhe are not felt in the mouth due to the acidity, which dampens the round notes created by the glycerine, ethyl alcohol and the long chain polyphenols.
The fact that, from many points of view, each year is different, means that the winemaker is continuously learning. In fact, every year, Torraccia del Piantavigna has to perfect its techniques and processes, comparing the climatic conditions, the state of the vines, the chemical concentrations of the soil and in the bunches of grapes, and so on, with those of previous years. In this way, our experience improves gradually, so that we can obtain the best from each kind of grape and each bunch harvested.
Great wines start in the vineyard. We select the best grapes according to the standards set by the company from year to year. When the grapes arrive in the cellar, the bunches are subjected to another selection process on a vibrating table before the vitally important operation of crushing the grapes and removing the stems. At Torraccia del Piantavigna this is done in a very ‘gentle’ way, ensuring that the skins remain whole so that all the various components of the skins can be extracted selectively in the subsequent maceration process.
The fermentation process takes place in steel tanks located outside the cellar. The temperature of the tanks is automatically controlled, as modern wine-making methods demand.
Once the fermentation process has been completed, the individual batches of wine are then divided into large, medium-size and small vats to mature. These are then assembled in different proportions, depending on how long that particular volume of wine is going to be aged. Finally, the wine is bottled in a protected environment and the wine completes its refining process in the bottle.
The bunches of Autochthonous single grape variety as specified for our DOC wines grapes pass over a vibrating table so that only the very best are selected. During this process, dry ice is used to create a protected environment and prevent the must from oxidizing.
Unlike red grapes, the bunches are then crushed whole, along with the stems, and then put immediately into a grape press. The resulting must is refrigerated for at least 12 hours at a temperature of 5°C.
Thanks to this process, the must becomes clear. It is then separated by being pumped into a environment protected by CO2 and inoculated with special yeasts which complete the fermentation process slowly and at a low temperature. This process preserves the aromas that give the mature wine its bouquet. The process lasts for about 20 days during which the must is checked and controlled regularly.
Finally, the wine is decanted, separating the sediment (the yeast cells which are no longer active) that builds up during fermentation. After this, the wine is left to rest for about two months in stainless-steel vats, and is then bottled.
The process is virtually identical to the one used for making white wines, described above. The bunches of Nebbiolo grapes are carefully selected in a protected environment which prevents the must from oxidizing.
Then the bunches are crushed whole, along with the stems, but, unlike the process for making red wine, are put straight into a grape press to extract the must, which is kept refrigerated for at least 12 hours at a temperature of 5°C.
Once the must becomes clear, it is then separated by being pumped into a environment protected by CO2 and inoculated with special yeasts which complete the fermentation process slowly and at a low temperature. This process preserves the aromas that give the mature wine its bouquet. The process lasts for about 20 days during which the must is checked and controlled regularly.
During the final stage, the wine is decanted, separating it from the sediment (the yeast cells which are no longer active) that builds up during fermentation. After this, the wine is left to rest for about two months in stainless-steel vats, and is then bottled.
The bunches of Nebbiolo and Vespolina are passed over the vibrating table so that only the very best bunches are selected to make the wine.
The crushing of the grapes is done in a very ‘gentle’ way, allowing the skins to remain whole so that the polyphenols and anthocyanins can be extracted selectively during the subsequent maceration process.
Fermentation takes place about 8 hours after the fermentation tank has been filled, and a selected yeast is prepared and injected into the must. The fermentation process lasts for about ten days, during which all the sugar is transformed into alcohol. During this phase, the job of ‘moving’ the wine, that is, stirring it up inside the tank now and again, is done automatically, despite the fact that the tanks are checked daily to ensure that the process is proceeding in the right way.
In the case of wines made to be drunk ‘young’, like ‘Tre Confini’ and ‘La Mostella’, the maceration time of the must is shorter than the fermentation time, to prevent an excessive amount of tannin from being extracted.
On the other hand, in the case of wines being made for ageing, and when the grapes reach the optimum level of maturation, the maceration process can continue for up to 30 days. If necessary, the temperature can be raised periodically to extract higher levels of tannins and polyphenols, which, together with ageing in wood, provide the basis for wines like Gattinara and Ghemme.
Especially with wines like Ghemme and Gattinara, it’s important to remember that the difference in the soil and the climate lead to a different bunch structure. For Ghemme, both the bunch and the grapes themselves are larger, while, in Gattinara, the bunches have smaller grapes that are less tightly packed due to the more austere nature of the soil. There is therefore a higher ratio of skins to liquid in Gattinara which means that the anthocyanins and the polyphenols contained in the skin are less diluted, and can be extracted more easily.
This is why the two wines differ: Gattinara remains slightly more austere due to the fact that it is more concentrated and it has a more mineral taste, with notes of iron and iodine that are much more accentuated than Ghemme wines, which, on the other hand, are richer and have a slightly more complex bouquet.
During the final maceration process, the skins are separated from the wine-must by a pneumatic press, or torchio, which presses the grape-skins in a very gentle way.