According to a report published this week by WineNews.it, Italy’s top wine wizards — “Italy’s most famous and most important enologists” — are calling the 2009 harvest “a good but not exceptional vintage in Italy.” Not all agree, however.
Carlo Ferrini: “Positive results for early-ripening grape varieties except for a few problems in the warmest productions zones.” The harvest went “well in Sicily and Piedmont but, depending on weather conditions, it could be a great vintage for less important wines while there could be some problems in obtaining wines with cellar potential.”
Riccardo Cotarella : “This year the coolest zones have an advantage in the production of important wines. Red wins will suffer in extreme climates and we will obtain important wines from Sangiovese and Aglianico where the vines are situated at [sufficient] elevation. For white wines, instead, it is an exceptional season.
Lorenzo Landi: “The significant early harvest that we expected was not as large as we thought. With late-harvest, we will have a lot of problems if it rains. Otherwise, there could be some positive surprises. The white grape varieties fare better. They have been able to maintain their acidity and their freshness and will be superior to those from recent vintages.”
Roberto Cipresso: “The remarkable thing about the 2009 vintage is the gigantism phenomenon in the bunches, which brings with it a slight dilution in the substance of the skins. We will have wines with good structure, pronounced tannins, and good aromas. It seems that for the reds, late harvesting will be better in this vintage, which reminds me of 1998.”
Leonardo Valenti, professor, Department of Viticulture, University of Milan: “The intense heat has created many problems for the grapes, with drying phenomena as a result. Vines accustomed to an abundance of water during the budding period where stuck with a water deficit in the heat and thus had to be picked earlier.”
According to a press release issued by the Brunello producers association, the first bunches of Sangiovese were picked in Montalcino on Tuesday, September 22.
Last week, blogger Wayne Young in northeastern Italy reported that the 2009 harvest “is shaping up to be a great vintage” despite some inclement weather on Sunday, September 13.
- We harvested some Tocai and some Merlot before the weather turned bad Last Sunday. Everything looks great.
Rain is actually welcomed at this point because it had been SO DRY that maturation wasn’t advancing as quickly as it should have been considering the great weather. The vines were a little stressed from lack of water, and when vines stress, they go into a “survival mode” where available energy is diverted from maturation and the grapes are actually used as a source of energy themselves. Under severe conditions, the vine can use the grapes as a source of water, causing the berries to shrink…
2009 is still shaping up to be a great vintage. This rain is just what the doctor ordered. For the later whites and the rest of the reds to come in perfectly, the rain will have to stop and we’ll need just a little more warmth and sun.