By Donatella Cinelli Colombini
The vines, notoriously intelligent plants, are asking themselves if we are not transforming them in camels. First the vintages 2012 and 2013 that were as dry as a desert, and now a 2014 which, until July, resembled the beginning of the Great Flood. Finally in August the sun arrived, only two storms during the whole month. According to statistics 1,5°C more than the last decade of the 20th century and minus2°C with respect to the average temperatures from the year 2000 onwards. The nights are cool and during the day temperatures range between 28-33°C. Ideal temperatures for the aroma synthesis. The first grape analysis posted by the Consorzio del Brunello regarding clusters picked on August 26th are very positive: the “technological” ripening so the forming of sugar, is still far away, but the evolution of the noble substances in the skins – poliphenols– is ahead.
During the months of June and July, those of us who practice organic farming, have finished all energies of our tractors and tractor drivers. They never stopped. Saving the grapes from peronospora (downy mildew) has been a heroic feat. In July there were so many rainy days that we asked ourselves if maybe it might be a good idea to go back a step and return to the “systemic treatments” but the grape growers refuse <<oh no ! After all the hard work we have done we cannot pull out now>> What passion!
In the end our neighbours, who used systemic treatments have ruined grapes and our are healty. In august we had some peronospera attacks but only on the younger leaves.
Montalcino’s extraordinary vocation for Sangiovese variety is confirmed this year too. In July the grapes on the clusters were larger than usual but during August their dimension was practically back to normal and the veraison was quick and complete. On August 10th the countdown began of the 40 days ‘til harvest at Casato Prime Donne.
At fattoria del Colle, in southern Chianti, we had a small hail storm on June 26th. It actually hit 4 vineyards with a loss of about 10% of grapes. The major problem has been the shock created which blocked the vegetative cycle of the vines. The veraison took place slowly between August 10th and 20th with a noticeable delay compared to the last few years.
“Cancello nero” a practically legendary Vineyard, for the excellent grapes it produces is the one that has most been traumatized. I replanted it in 2010 and I consider it my greatest legacy for my daughter Violante. In 10 years time its grapes will produce extraordinary wines. But now the hailstorm has upset it. We know that vines are bright, every evening I go and visit Cancello nero to give it support <<be patient, my friend, you are young … wait and see what lovely grapes you will bear when you are an adult!>>
Since August 20th we began the thinning out of grapes (green harvest) and the de-leafing on the side of the vine less exposed to the midday sun.
Let’s hope that the good weather continues all of September. With nights so cool we should make wines with extraordinary complexity and deepness, as long as it does not rain …. WE will be doing our best, fingers crossed…..