Harsh winter with below average temperatures, but without snow.
Prolonged spring rains and summer drought would seem to preclude a quality, undermined by potential fungal attacks. Proper management of the vineyard, has benefitted, against all expectations, from the mild weather in September, that has been stable, as to raise a optimum ripeness.
Harsh winter with below average temperatures, but without snow.
The wet spring has preceded a long summer, very hot and dry, with unexpected wide daily temperature ripples, especially in August. Proper management of the vineyard, has benefitted, against all expectations, from in the rain in September, which lengthened an expected anticipated harvest.
A long hard winter with heavy snowfalls and hard frosts until March. The spring was late, temperatures are low and a pouring and persistent rain fell for the whole April and May months . It rained two days in three.
June brings the sunshine and temperature rises: it’s an hard fight against late blight. A fresh and less sunny summer flows off. Late harvest, but not too much, even because it’s going to rain again in September. Anomalous growths (we collected cabernet grapes before Sangiovese ones. ... fancy that…) Tasting grapes in the vineyard was such a fun.
A very fresh vintage with reasonable alcohol, at last…
Summer fades away in September and temperatures in October are already below the average. The winter seems to take a run-up, with rainfalls and extraordinary snowfall before Christmas time, but alas! the rain rules the roost. In fact, the winter season is mild and very damp. It rains incessantly until April and the constant and heavy downpours damage crops and vineyards. At last, the sun returns in May and the temperatures begin to rise. It's a fresh spring, with lovely climate, bright and cloudless days. The good weather goes until the first half of August. It’s warm but not too hot and the sky always gives us a great amount of light. Suddenly, after mid-August, temperatures reach up to 40 degrees. Two weeks of hot weather that dries the clay soil, still moist from winter rains. The maturation of the grapes undergoes a sudden acceleration: the harvest begins about 20 days in advance and ends quickly. The varietal differences count for little: in less than a month all the grapes in the cellar. The fermentations are difficult, but the structure of the wine is exceptional. Excellent tannins, silky and already a large concentration of anthocyanin. Vintage exciting.
October is pretty warm. We're still lying on the beach. Winter comes later, cold wait until February, when a heavy, continuous snow falls, for the second year in a row, going to add up to the last torrential rains in November. Water overloads the clay soils. Good supply with a view to the summer. End Winter frost stamps out the buds on vines and olive trees. Suddenly in March, it's almost summertime: it's really hot, the sun shines….temperatures rise up above the season average. But a boring, fickle spring goes on, till June. It' doesn't rain at all, but the sun is pale. Then, the summer comes: the long 2012 summer with 5 dry months, and more than 45 day over 30°C, between June and Middle August. Lucky us that see breezes still blow, refreshing men and grapes. it will be a early harvest. Ok. It will be a short harvest. Less good. The yield is reduced by a 40%. Grape quality, besides any expectation, seems to be very good, especially for some grape varieties as Sangiovese and Syrah. Harvest 2012 started on September 06.
Winter season come late. Small snowfalls on the Lands of Pisa and temperatures are quite high. But strong and abundant rainfalls come, enriching the water stock in the Valdera clayey soils. Spring is late. Torrential rains and frigid temperatures during February, March and April. Record monthly rains. Climate is cool, lower than the season average until the end of May, and the sun peeps out from the grey clouds.
June clears up. Vines suffered the long spring rains and seem to be still dormant, the green stuff hard put to grow. Flowering, however is on time, around the first week of June. But the cold gives no break and affects the blooms. Rains and cold temperature pave the way to the late blight that drives us mad till mid-July. Then, suddenly the doggy days. Temperature rise up to 30°C all over August. The light grapes, risk to be burned in a while. We come back to the vineyards to protect them from the sunlight, stop removing the leaves. September is fresh and light rains comes. The soil breaths. Alcohol will be reasonable, finally. A very elegant vintage. Grapeharvest start on September 18th.
The winter has never arrived. Whiteout cold and snow, the vines didn’t rest and vegetative growth has been rapid and very precocious. The usual snowfall have replaced by intense and heavy rains, that never stopped until August. That’s the rainiest year ever. A cool and moist spring arrives and the buds bloom too early. Everything indicates a premature harvest, but rains persist and vegetation grows constantly until August. What an hard and intensive work in the vineyard!! To defoliate and trim, to put so many juicy grapes under the sun, into the Scirocco winds. Winds always blow. Lucky us, when the season has been disastrous for many others. It rains, but no storms or hail and the sea breeze constantly dries and flavours. Downy mildew is under control. Powdery mildew away. A sunny September let us taking some risk and wait. We started harvesting in a perfect timing. We pick up the first grape on September 18.
We’ve just finished harvesting, that intense and continue rain arrives and runs out the clock. Time is over for any autumn work. Winter seems to be mild, but at Christmas time, temperatures drop sharply below 0. The vines slowly become dormant in late December. January is cold but no snow and more rain. March is shaping up with very strong north and north-east winds that sweep away the humidity and temperatures rise rapidly under the clear sky. The first buds become cottony at mid-month. Flowering surprising us in early May, quite in advance, due to unusually high temperatures. Summer comes at full speed, during June and July dog days, temperatures rises up to more than 30 degrees and there is no trace of rain. The clay keeps the vine roots cool and fresh water reserve saves them from by drought and withering. But harvest is shaping up really early. Sangiovese matures too fast, above all. Then, finally, heavy rains and frequent summer storms arrive in August quenching animals and plants thirst, and rise hopes for a lot of fruity grapes. At the end, it was one of the best vintages ever. We pick up the first grape on September 10th.
Autumn is mild and sunny. Work in the vineyard flows and in December we're pretty satified with vines and soils, ready for the next season. But winter is late again to arrive. It doesn't come, indedd and the temperatures remain constantly between 5 and 15°C. As a result, pruning is very very delayed, in order to postpone the vegetative growth and prevent the risk of spring frosts. Didn't work, unfortunately. Spring arrives soon but it is unstable and changes in temperature jeopardize the flowering. April is a strong and unexpected sunny and vines grow full speed. Once again, it will be an early harvest. The summer sun is hot, high in the sky and the rain disappears by the end of May. Dog days in August, but with a lot of wind and a some thunder, finally. During the night, the sea breezes bring a sudden lowering of temperatures. We start harvesting early, with Merlot, but at the end of September weather is more balanced and the Sangiovese comes to full maturity in early October, as I wish.
2016 it's a vintage of great perfumes, texture and elegance, acidity is great and quality of skins and tannins is extraordinary, with an excellent concentrations.
The wave of the enthusiasm of the last harvest, is drastically torn to pieces by the autumn rains that arrive intense on the new green manure. What a shame. Moreover, that's the first and last rain of the season. Winter arrives stiff and serious, after 4 years of mild temperatures and fine shirts, at last. We are enthusiastic about the next season. Finally men and vineyards enjoy a well-earned rest. Pruning begins late, with the morning frost. The vineyard is clean, refreshed by the cold, ready. March announces a sunny spring and temperatures rise immediately. The sun is high in the sky, and it does not rain. It shines until Easter when, suddenly, on the night between April 19th and 20th, an announced frost arrives, burning all of the vines facing north-east and compromises seriously our Vermentino, Trebbiano and Syrah. But, above all, it takes away all our winter enthusiasm. After the frost, a couple of deadlock weeks later, the sun comes back, with temperatures near and above 30 degrees that do not backs down until August. The crazy vineyards no longer know what season they are in. They grow, they stop, they live without logic or direction. The water slowly disappears: from the morning leaves, from the rivulets, from the ponds, from the roots. It is not raining at all. In 6 months, from January to August, there are just 26mm. The clay soils seem to suffer more than the others and the branches are struggling to reach the second line. The grapes are sparse, with small fruits. On the contrary, the looser silts, seems to give support to an abundant production and luxuriant vegetation, thanks to the sea winds blowing undeterred, mitigating the temperatures that are sweltering elsewhere bot not at Pieve de 'Pitti, where rarely exceed 20 °C in the night. However, the drought persist until the end of September and we're forced to cut grapes preventing drying and hard stress for the vines to ripen the remaining fruits.
At the end, we lost 70% of our production. It doesn't matter how great and tasty is the wine, at the end. We, men vines and grapes just survived.
Finally is winter time. It's cold, sub-zero temperatures and snowfall. After several hot and dry years, the true winter season arrives.
We all rest, the vines and us. We start pruning in January with high hopes after a such an asphyxiating 2017 season. But it starts raining ..... and it never stops. Good for the vineyards, still thirsty after the last season heat, but in fact, not so much water rains down from the grey sky .... it rains just a little but very often, almost every day and ,at the end of the month, the mm of rain are not a record at all. Moreover, after 3 days of rain without respite, we cannot drive over our clay soils. It sinks. And spring becomes very loooong. It stops raining, finally, in June.
Let's mow the green manures again and again. New gems emerge from everywhere, on the trunk and the cordon. It's all a run-up to clean, to cut, cut, cut.
The work trudges, the downy mildew luckily here is not one of the family and despite everything, the little copper sprayed in April and May is quite sufficient. The vineyards require a lot of work and time is always missing. Lot of grapes and so healthy. The sun finally arrives between July and August, a perfect summertime.
now it is September and the harvest has not begun yet. It almost seems like a perfect vintage ....
The season starts in the worst way. On October 29th, an hurricane struck the Villa and caused extensive damage. We ended collecting tiles from the vineyards and from the forest in late spring..... However, the winter arrives and goes with no stress, cool but not cold, (or not cold enough for the vines) and in January the rain begin, incessant, seamlessly, slowing down the whole work in the vineyards and it continues until early summer. The season is humid and temperatures are below average. Hills have never been so green in June. Ask to our regular customers who visit us evenry year. Then, miraculously (but not too much) the rains stop and we will not have any single drop of water until the beginning of September.
We will remember it as one of the hottest and driest summers ever. But the clay soils have made a good supply of winter rainwaters and never suffer from drought, even during this torrid and sultry July. A late harvest is shaping up, due to the late budding, but from veraison to full ripening, in reality (and with great surprise), it is a while. Merlot and Sangiovese, which have suffered most from the sudden temperature changes in blooming, rush and are harvested without any significant delay.
Syrah is not revealed until the end of fermentation, showing unexpected elegance in such an hot year. Trebbiano has shimmering gold grapes.
A lot of tastings and long walks in the vineyard are necessary to to understand what to do, and when.
Everyone says it will be a great year.
Fermentations are linear, long but controversial. At the first pouring, however, there are already some great satisfaction. Let the wine rest in the cellar.