Harvest Updates from Toscana

September 24, 2011 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Emilia Nardi, Tenute Silvio Nardi, Montalcino (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

In my last post, I included comments from five producers about the 2011 growing season and harvest in Italy. This post is a followup, this time with comments from three producers, all from Toscana.

Emilia Nardi – proprietor – Tenute Silvio Nardi, Montalcino

At the end of August, we had a lot of heat; that combined with the Scirocco coming from the south burned a lot of grapes. Thankfully, we have a sorting table, like almost everyone in Montalcino.

The harvest will be a little bit smaller, but as we are in Montalcino, we look to produce wines of the highest quality every year, so we will always sort the grapes to make wines that are outstanding, in my opinion.


Sebastiano Capponi – proprietor – Villa Calcinaia – Greve in Chianti

After mid-August, Tuscany and most of Italy was hit by a very strong heatwave that combined with a lack of water, started to take a toll on the vines.

Merlot as a grape was the one that created more problems due to its early ripening, while with Sangiovese, it really depended on the nature of the soil and the position of the vineyard. Fortunately the night temperatures in September cooled down and the vines benefited from a strong thermal inversion between day and night.

Merlot picking at my estate was the earliest ever (August 30, September 1) and it implied losing 30% of the crop due to dehydration. Sangiovese resisted much better, although there were some younger vines that had to be picked a little earlier.

The musts in general are characterized by a strong sugar content due to the dehydration but they still maintain high acidity due probably to the cold winter and cool weather during spring and early summer.

How to find a balance between the hot elements such as alcohol and the fresh elements such as acidity will be the winemaker’s main task in a year like this.


Gianpaolo Paglia – winemaker/proprietor- Poggio Argentiera, Grosseto

The 2011 harvest started two weeks earlier, but it is not going to end two weeks earlier, probably. Some vineyards were negatively affected by a heatwave during the second half of August, but others were not. Who knows why? They simply weren’t. It had rained nearly 150 mm in July in two days. That’s a lot of water anywhere, but it was really unexpected in the Maremma.

Fermentations are running smoothly, without added yeasts and in most cases, without sulfites.

The wines are very good, relaxed, expressive. There are a couple of Sangiovese that I love and a good amount of outstanding Ciliegiolo from old vines. Grenache (or locally Alicante) has been harvested, but it’s too early to judge, but the grapes were beautiful and there is a small amount of very interesting Syrah.

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