One 100 Foot, Irius Winery

By on mayo 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

I was up in Somontano, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, at the Irius winery last week where the 100 Foot range of wines are produced.  The winery appears on the horizon looking initially like huge silver aluminium boxes stacked symmetrically on top of each other but as you get closer it take the appearance of a strange looking giant insect with dark eyes and mouth but finally as you swing of the main road into the driveway that sweeps up to the winery the beauty of the architecture becomes apparent. 

The stainless steel shell has fifteen, I may be wrong by one or two,  layers of insulation to protect again the elements.  Set within 110ha of rolling vineyards, in total there are 350ha planted in two other vineyards, what looks impressive from the outside masks the really cool part of this winery.  From ground level to the bottom of the barrel store it measures 100ft.  Everything is gravity fed which in means that the grapes are handled more gently giving the winemaker more options when it comes to macerating, fermenting and blending. Curiously when the winery was built, started in 2002, it was not possible to use explosives so the foundations were excavated mechanically, a monumental task.

winery somontano Irius

So much for a winery owner with deep pockets what interested me was the quality of grapes.  Some of the Gewurtztraminer that I have tasted, together with excellent Chardonnay of the reds the Tempranillo Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blends.  Different planting densities from 4000 plants per hectare to 7500 plants per hectare where the yields per plant, reds mainly, around 1.5-2kg.

Sensors placed 30cm, 60 cm and 90cm into the soil to measure humidity which will determine when each to water in a particular part of the vineyard.   Also different types canopy management to give greater or less airflow and exposure to sunlight is another important element of vineyard management to bring the grapes to optimum ripeness.

Now in May is when the shoots are beginning to take shape.  So far everything looks pretty good.  I will keep you updated on how the vintage progresses and other little nuggets about the winery in the month ahead.

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