Palazzone is different. You can sense it from miles away. Without even having been there, there is something remarkable about this estate. Take their (classy) website. The English version of it is written by someone who actually knows (good) English. That, for a start, is quite something in Italian web land. It makes you sit up straight away. What else? They have a wine called L’Ultima Spiaggia, ‘The Last Beach’. Quite fascinating stuff as well. ‘Can you drink it?’, you wonder, wanting to taste it straight away. In the mean time you check their philosophy. They want their whites to be “graceful yet incisive, Mediterranean and at the same time with a closed structure”. Now they have our complete attention. A ‘closed structure’, whatever it means, must mean in any case that they don’t want to make everybody’s wine. Graceful, incisive and Mediterranean, sure, that’s what we want too. But on top of that there must be some secret in there as well, that only a happy few can discover. Irresistible. Not only for the individual, but for the importer as well, especially in case that ‘happy few’ turn out to be ‘quite a few’.
All the same, the history of Palazzone as a wine estate began in a rather standard way. The Dubini family from Lecco (near Como) ended up in Rome. No wonder, all roads lead to Rome. But then Giovanni Dubini took the only road to Rocca Ripesena, near Orvieto. Here, things turned special. Not that taking that road was a coincidence. His father had bought the local Palazzone estate. The original thing was that the son wanted actually to go and live there, revolutionizing a regular contributor to the local Cantina Sociale into something… different, something special. Said, and done.
In the meantime his brother Lodovico has joined him there, turning medieval structure into an agriturismo. Not your average agriturismo either, of course. A five-stars one.
By doing so, the building returned to is original purpose, as it was built as a hostel for pilgrims on their way to Rome to celebrate the Jubilee of 1300 AD. In 1982 the brothers made their first wine. Today, their best-selling label is the Orvieto Classico Terre Vineate. It shows a deep straw-yellow colour and has an elegant bouquet with a scent of hazelnut. Refreshingly dry, its finish is a perfect balance between the fruit and a touch of bitterness.
Campo del Guardiano is an Orvieto Classico Superiore from Palazzone’s best vineyard. The bottled wine matures for 14 months by placing the bottles in tufa caves that were dug in Etruscan times. The resulting climatic conditions are ideal for maturing this wine which deep straw-yellow is highlighted by a soft green hue. It is a wine of remarkable depth and bouquet, with a silky finish.