In Montalcino we had a fermentation phase full of wonderful surprises
There are some excellencies in the 2014 wine, even though less than in 2012 and 2013 which, for us, have both been exceptional
By Donatella Cinelli Colombini
This year has been the BIO year as quite rightly stated by Loredana Sottine in Trebicchieri, the Gambero Rosso weekly <<never before has the sector been able to get its own back on conventional productions>>. The only possible way to bring good grapes into the cellar has in fact been using more attention to nature. For those of us who cultivate our vine organically this is excellent news!
First surprise, with respect to the rest of Italy where the vintage looks like being inferior in quantity to the previous ones ( 41 million ), we have had an abundant one. No decrease.
Second surprise, were expecting a late harvest but on the contrary the picking took place exactly 40 days after the veraison, practically a textbook routine. The younger vineyards and the ones that tend to be ready sooner and have a lesser root ramification, those facing south and with good inclination have given good and excellent grapes. Grapes for Brunello without doubt. Other vineyards have had more toruble and will consequently produce a great Rosso di Montalcino wine which as happens with vintages such as 2014, is a chip off Brunello because
it contains grapes that would usually have been destined for a long ageing.
The 2014 Brunello will be more than good and it will be very traditional so similar to the best examples form 20 or 30 years ago: less alcohol, more elegant and deeper thank to the low temperatures which have characterized the ripening phase. An old style Brunello that however coincided exactly with the new taste of the more competent consumers and most of all of the more competent foreign consumers.
One must admit that usually the vineyards at Casato Prime Donne give their best in dry years. They are in fact on the cooler side of Montalcino, the
one that has been more favour by global warming, an increase of about 4 °C in temperature which in all the wine making regions in the world has changed the vocation of the soil or rather the ability to produce excellent wines. A revolution that has brought vineyards to England and has created a crisis in some regions that have become hot or too hot with a shortened ripening phase and a successive trivialization of the wines. In other areas, such as ours, global warming has on the other hand created excellent conditions to produce grapes with a perfect equilibrium, the essential product for great wines that are soft, elegant, harmonic, long and deep.
In 2014 the winter and spring rainfalls have really put us to the test and we owe the tenacity and passion of Efisio, Beppe, Ivo, Simona the fact that the vines reached grape harvest time in perfect condition.
Only one regret: without the showers between 10-13 September when 80-90 mm of rain fell it would have been one of the best harvest ever. In fact since then there have not been real rainfalls and the storms foreseen by the weather forecasters disappeared, as if by magic, near to Montalcino. Unfortunately though the deers and wild boars arrived, in hoards, it was like being in an African safari park.
Here is some technical information regarding the harvest: the grape picking took place between the 15th and the 27th of September without interruptions not even on Sundays, without losing precious time because of the rain. The only rainfall which took place on the 25th of September, was very brief. The vinification has been very regular with spontaneously low temperatures also thanks to the practically cold nights, the grapes had soft skins that were decidedly soluble and have released the colour to the must very easily. The Brunello macerations have lasted between 15- 22 days according to the quality of the grapes. The alcohol content of the Montalcino Sangiovese varied between 12,7 and 13,5%. The selected autochthonous yeasts chosen in 2008 by Enobiotech at Casato Prime Donne are giving a sparkling performance! Wonderful, really wonderful, they give character and finesse to the future Brunellos, the most promising strain is that found in the older vineyards.