Cross your fingers and do a rain dance! The coming weeks are crucial for the quality of the 2011 vintage. Our Brunello, Chianti and Doc Orcia vineyards have bravely endured the strong sun in the second half of August but now are desperate for a good drink of water
Our winemaker Valerie Lavigne has followed the progress of the harvest via the internet and today will be joining
us to personally oversee the harvesting of the Brunello grapes. At present our most important grapes have potentially a high alcohol content, with very high acidity and only a few extractable polyphenols. We await further developments in the coming days. At the moment the fruit bears some resemblance to the legendary 1997 vintage.
The harvesting started last Monday at the Fattoria del Colle with some of the Traminer grapes which when they resemble raisins will be used to produce the passito. This wine has a sweet, soothing aroma and tastes of honey, it is my husband Carlo passion and also that of the wine producer Barbara Magnani. At the moment we are bottling the 300 precious bottles of our Pink and Gold label passito from our 2010 harvest, which we are sure will give us a delicious sweet tasting wine.
The harvest then continued with the Traminer grapes which will be used to produce our white wine ‘Sanchimento’ IGT Toscana. Only 40 quintali of grapes were collected which will be used to create wine for the enjoyment of future visitors to the Fattoria del Colle. 30th August was the first day of the harvest of the Merlot grapes for the Doc Orcia’ Leone Rosso’ wine. As always the Merlot grapes have suffered the effects of the sun much more than the Sangiovese grapes and therefore it was necessary to harvest them at least 15 days ahead of our normal scheduled harvesting date. Barbara is getting used to addressing this problem as it is happening more and more often.
For us the most important grapes are the Sangiovese and, fortunately, the extensive thinning out of the fruit which we undertook in the first half of August has helped them to withstand the stress of the lack of water which was triggered by the strong sun which we have experienced in the last month.
It is most likely that the best grapes of the next harvest will grow on the established older vines and not from my wonderful new vineyards which are only 10 years old, although these have a very good position on the hillsides they are very exposed to the sun and have suffered more from the heat this year than the other more established vineyards. That’s the nice thing about having vineyards in lots of different positions with varying amounts of sunshine and in lots of different types of soil! Every year the weather benefits specific positions of vineyards and soil types and therefore guarantees a good harvest from a good portion of the vineyards.
Our team of harvesters this year is made up of 18 people, 2 of which are driving the tractors and 16 are harvesting by hand. Many of our team are young people, some are still students and some have recently graduated. Almost all are from our local area. When we start the harvest of the Sangiovese grapes we will increase the size of the group by another 7 harvesters.
The grapes are collected in 20 kg boxes, these are stacked on the trailers of tractors, and then they are transported to the wine cellar where they are passed through the crusher and de-steming machines and then they are fed into the fermentation vat where they will stay for about 15 days.