ABOUT THE VINTAGE
Palazzi showcases Merlot at its best, with plush, supple fruit balanced by intense minerality. A blend of grapes from across the estate, Palazzi comes from a selection of older vines of merlot, comprising about five to seven hectares. Several months in new barrel add layers of richness and complexity, making the wine approachable and pleasing from release, with elegant structure that can stand the test of time. It is one of the great examples of Italian merlot, and only a small quantity is produced each year.
18 September 2020
We go outside early in the morning and head for the vineyards; the air is already getting hot. We reach the closest rows of bear fruit, it’s being whipped by a southerly wind that is keeping summer hanging on the valley. I grab some berries of merlot, they don’t have much taste – it’s too early and the fruit is sugary and flat. The wind gets stronger every day, by the 30th of September I see some areas with clusters of fruit starting to shrivel. Then the wind grows deafening; rain bursts and starts falling white and loud over the vines and it keeps up for the next three days.
When it stops, the air has turned cold, the whole valley lays a bit darkened under the sun: I think that the season has finally broken. We wait two days for grapes to get dry, then we are back in the vineyards, tasting; this time there are plenty of aromas. Other people come up and join us from the winery as we stand in the vineyards savouring these berries getting used to our first tastes ripeness this year.
3 October, 2020
Very much on schedule for merlot, the new harvest starts. We are picking good lots of fruit. At the cellar, the winemakers get busy and take charge of the first loads of grapes of our vintage 2020. The cellar’s people are very good. They will move quickly from now on as the harvest intensifies, discerning and separating the harvest in tanks, each filled with must from the vineyard of origin. These first merlots send out rich aromas: they have absorbed drought first, then cold weather, then rain. While more pickers arrive in the morning, I venture into the higher vineyards to taste berries; they are freezing cold, everywhere thought they are ripe; by the next day we have finished picking all of them. There is a pause before our vines of cabernet franc come in season. For few days rain falls sparsely from rushing skies in the dim sunlight, until the 6th of October.
6-10 October, 2020
All grounds are very wet but a stronger sun burns over the vineyards; walking on the shining mud in the parcels of cabernet franc the grapes appear ripe now, all tracts are actually ripening quickly and it’s happening in the usual sequence for this estate. We call the team to harvest in cold an uncertain weather and continue for days in alternate light as big clouds rush over us. The grapes taste better every day; we pioneer the highest vineyards ahead of the picking team. Those parcels are the last and are crucial to us every year because of their special quality; it’s the 10th of October, we bring those grapes in the winery. This rainy year cabernet franc is showing a brilliant and intrepid sort of ripeness. It’s the result of the heat in September coming early, then the rains and the long bursts of sunlight.
Othmar Kiem – Simon Staffler, Falstaff, 98 points
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 94 points: “The 2020 Palazzi is packed with dark fruit, cloves, leather and bittersweet chocolate. Rich, deep and quite potent, the 2020 is another extroverted wine in this range. There is some grittiness in the tannin, otherwise, the 2020 is very nicely done and quite promising, especially if those tannins soften. Drinking window: 2025-2040”
450-600 m asl