Galatrona is Petrolo’s most acclaimed wine, a Merlot cru made exclusively with grapes from the Galatrona-Feriale vineyard planted in various phases during the 1990s with low vigor Bordeaux clones. The unique microclimate allows the concentration of the noble components of the grapes that are fundamental for the great structure, elegance, balance, and persistence that has made Galatrona one of Italy’s most coveted wines.
The vines are planted on clay-rich loam, with shale, marl and sandstone. Clay helps to retain the moisture in the soil, which is particularly useful during the hot, dry Tuscan summers. The vineyard lies approximately 1000 feet above sea level and has a south-eastern exposure. The vineyard spans 25 acres, with almost 50,000 plants grown on spurred cordon trellising. The yield per plant is notably restricted (max 2.5 lbs per vine plant), with the Petrolo estate as a whole producing 65,000 bottles (5,000 cases) from 140,000 plants – less than half a bottle per plant. The strict pruning permits a complete grape maturation to take place. The limited yields permits the grapeskins to achieve highly concentrated levels of anthocyanins and tannin, already sweetened due to the polymerization of the plant.
Skin maceration lasts more than 20 days. Pump-overs are done manually with considerable care and very frequently to allow the complete extraction from the skins. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques, usually starting quickly and with regular development. After the malolactic fermentation the wine ages in new and almost new French oak barriques for approximately 18 months. During this period the wine is left for the first 8 months on the fine lees. After bottling, the wine begins its usual maturation period of about 6 months before release.
After a rather mild winter, the initially warm spring brought abundant rains in May and rather cold temperatures for the period. At the beginning of summer, with the heat wave of the first half of June, the development of the vine was realigned to its usual course. Some thunderstorms in July brought below average temperatures and allowed a balanced growth of the bunches. The grapes in August underwent several rains and high temperatures, so we had a very good ripening.
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