The grapes to produce the Merlot Toscana IGT “Quercegobbe” Petra were harvested in the coolest hours of the day. After three days of cold-soaking, fermentation took place. Malolactic fermentation followed in barrel. The wine was then aged in demi-muids, of which 20% were new and the rest second- and third use, for 18 months. The wine continued to mature for a further 10 months in bottle before release.
Quercegobbe translates as ‘hunchback oak’, and the wine is named after the vineyard in which the grapes are grown. The vines were planted in 1997 close to the cellar in San Lorenzo at 80 metres above sea level, on a hillside facing the sea. It is an ideal position for Merlot as it is well ventilated. Soils here are very similar to the clays of Pomerol, where Merlot thrives, and are rich in calcium carbonate and iron, brought here by erosion and deposits from the nearby metalliferous hills.
Petra, created by the Moretti family of Bellavista, is a 300 hectare estate is situated in Suvereto in the Val di Cornia. When Vittorio Moretti and his daughter Francesca set out in search of a property in the Maremma in 1997, they asked Attilio Scienza, Italy’s most celebrated viticultural professor and consultant, to help them find the best spot. Scienza came up with Petra (the name is derived from the Latin for stone, or ‘pietra’ in Italian), which is to the southeast of Bolgheri and inland from, although facing, the sea. The estate now has 94 hectares of vineyard across three separate plots, which surround a splendid modernist winery built by the Swiss architect Mario Botta. Newly appointed winemaker Augusto Graziano and consultant winemaker Giuseppe Caviola work to ensure that the quality of fruit arriving in the winery is captured in the finished wines. In the vineyard, they are in the process of organic conversion, while the gravity-fed winery has been designed to ensure as gentle a treatment of the grapes, must and wine as possible.