This was a real triumph, a wonderful harvest. In all my life I have never seen anything similar; all the clusters were perfect, ripe, small and perfectly sound, from the first to the last.
In the Brunello region this harvest beats even the great 2010 vintage, and news coming from the rest of Italy is good too.
To be on the safe side I wrote little about the 2015 harvest. I kept my fingers crossed and I waited until all the grapes had reached the cellar. It was over in a flash: 7-9 September merlot, 21 -30 September Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda and Sagrantino. A big team of 18 youngsters went up and down the vine rows scissors in hand. Red baskets filling the bins ready to be taken to the cellar at Casato Prime Donne and Fattoria del Colle. Also quick, so quick that Barbara the cellar master had trouble keeping up with grapes arriving on the sorting table. A harvest amid music, many pickers had on headphones as if they were jogging. Maybe this is what accelerated the rhythm. This is something worth thinking about, even though the music isolates and stops the chitchat full of jokes, taking the Mick and camaraderie which for centuries has been the life of grape-picking.
1.600 quintals 160 tons of grapes, not even that much. In my 33 hectares an average of 46 quintals per hectare, so 4,6 tons.
In Montalcino the analysis posted by the Consorzio del Brunello have highlighted two distinct areas: the first including Tavernelle, Castelnuovo and Sant’Angelo with high alcohol content and early ripening, the second that reunites the areas around the village Torrenieri and Canalicchio where the grapes ripened more slowly and at the end of September still had an acidity over 5%. We are in this second group and we are very happy.
Tuscany has had an excellent quality even though not so abundant in quantity. In fact my region together with Lombardia and Sardinia are the few where the production was lower than usual. In the rest of Italy we foresee on the other hand a boom in production, such as in Puglia with+ 25% with respect to last year, but practically all areas foresee an increase between 10 and 15 % for a total of more than 46 million quintals. A figure which makes us equal if not overtake the production in France. The most productive region is Veneto, who will be vinifying more than 9 million hectoliters and it is not surprising seeing the increase in production of Prosecco, now around 500 million bottles
The harvest began in Franciacorta and Sicily at the beginning of August and will finish in November with the Nebbiolo in Valtellina and the Cabernet in Alto Adige. The producers’ comments reported by Wine News are all very, very positive: Pio Boffa from cantina Pio Cesare is happy with the quality but fears a decrease in quantity; Guerrieri Gonzaga from Tenuta San Leonardo in Trentino says << the grapes are beautiful and decidedly sound>> Sergio Zingarelli president of the Chianti Classico <<I have not seen grapes so sound and in extraordinary conditions in the last twenty odd years>>.
To finish I would like to make an appeal in favour of Battista Battaglino, the pensioner who in Castellinaldo d’Alba has been fined because he asked friends to help him pick grapes. I would like to say to politicians and job centre officials that the exchange in labour has always been done among farmers as if it were a kind of solidarity necessary to survive. Illegal recruitment of agricultural workers for very low wages and moonlighting are something completely different. Juridical instruments must be found to sustain the small activities.