2019 Harvest Report: Piedmont
Harvest in Italy is always one of the most exhilarating and exciting times of the year and fortunately, 2019 is providing much to be enthusiastic about. The 2019 Piedmont growing season kept winemakers busy – between heavy spring rains, various hailstorms throughout the season, scorching summer temperatures and some early indications of rot that needed to be eradicated. Nevertheless, quality is said to be high, with some areas expecting absolute excellence. Quantity is down 15% over last year.
BEATRICE GAUDIO of GAUDIO BRICCO MONDALINO
This was one of the most peculiar seasons I’ve ever experienced! After a warm, dry winter, and very early budding (in the third week of March), we saw cold temperatures and rain throughout April and May. This greatly slowed the cycle down by weeks, turning a “precocious” season into a “late” season in terms of the average. But then in late May, early June the sun began to shine and heat things up, and the vines made up for lost time, with great vigor, making it difficult to manage the canopy. Then temperatures dropped again in mid-July to mid-August, with strong winds and hailstorms, once again causing a delay in the cycle. We were struck with hail the night of 4 July, but there was very little damage compared to other areas – especially the 11 August storm, which destroyed everything in its path. Harvest took place late, between mid-September and early October. As a result, quantities are lower, but the grapes have excellent aromatic and phenological concentration, and alcohol should be around 13 or 14 % in the Grignolinos and 14 to 15 % in the Barberas. The aromas are the most interesting, in that they are fresh and elegant, typical of cooler years (2013, 2014 and 2018) but have the concentration of warmer vintages (2016, 2017). In short, and excellent vintage!
MANUEL and ELISA MARCHETTI of MARCARINI
In a word, 2019 was the vintage of hope in Piedmont. We hope to have beautiful wines in 2019, after a growing season that kept us busy. We had to face quite strange weather, especially in May because it was very, very cold. We were worried there might be frost or problems in the creation of the grapes. But fortunately, the cycle was able to continue perfectly and the grapes didn’t suffer any damage. The abundant rains went straight into the soils. We also didn’t have any illness because the weather was never too hot or too cold. Even during the September storms, our vineyards were largely unscathed and we were able to pick the grapes when they were perfect. Once in the tank, the grapes showed the perfect color. We are very satisfied and look forward to the future wines.
DAVIDE MOZZONE of BONGIOVANNI
I feel like I need to highlight the very fortunate “respect” for timing in terms of the growth cycle (that we came back to) so the reawakening, budding, etc. Everything that happened was, in a certain sense, on point compared to the ten to fifteen days of earliness we saw in the last seven to eight vintages. In my opinion, this is really important because it allowed for the lengthening of the phenological phases of ripening. So, we were able to go back to picking the Nebbiolo grapes – the most important we produce – when they were very ripe and very defined, also thanks to diurnal temperature changes.
The grapes, also thanks to the weather, which was quite “generous” in August and September, were truly balanced and showed all the best characteristics of perfect ripening. This made it possible to pick impeccably healthy grapes at the perfect moment, something necessary to producing age-worthy wines. We are especially satisfied with the balance and we look forward to excellent aging in the cellar.
MATTEO SARDAGNA EINAUDI of EINAUDI
2019 has just finished and it was a classic vintage. Because we had beautiful ripening at the end of the season. We started with a little bit of rain in spring, so we had to work in the vineyards to fight overgrowth as we don’t use any herbicides. The year then continued well throughout the summer and early fall. September and October were nice, with good day/night temperature swings. We finished picking the grapes around 20 October and the quality was beautiful and the wines are very promising. They have all the elements to be a great vintage.
FABIO FANTINO of CONTERNO FANTINO
This was a tough vintage. We started quite early in spring with budbreak, so the growth cycle was early. Then, in May, it was really rainy and cold, we had 25 days of rain so work in the vineyards was quite tough. But then the weather changed and we had a nice summer – dry, but not too hot. So, the growth cycle developed normally. We finished harvest 18 October, with perfect phenolic ripeness and beautiful color. The wines just went into the barrels to age, but we are really happy with 2019 and are looking forward to tasting them with you!
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