Serious hail problems in many Barolo communes. Some good wines were still made
A cold winter with some snow in later January, during the second half of February and mid-March. Spring weather was very variable but seemed to be picking up in May when disaster struck in Barolo on 29 May with a now-legendary hailstorm. The higher and more exposed sites were particularly badly hit and some growers were forced to write off their entire crop. Barbaresco was spared by the storm. Flowering was delayed by low temperatures in early June. The month ended with warm, sultry weather. July was inconsistent with bouts of rain and high humidity, but picked up in the final week. He brighter spell continued through most of August and into the final week of September. Thereafter, the weather was humid and rather cool, but brightened up at the start of October and remained fair for the harvest.
Piedmont 1986 was a very uneven vintage, with dramatically varying quality even in neighbouring vineyards. Production in Barolo was only half of a normal vintage. The growers who were able to release Barolo produced ripe wines lacking in great depth or structure. Despite easier conditions in Barbaresco, problems with humidity were rife, and the wines seem lacking in intensity.
A vintage to be drunk soon. The Barolos of Altare, Clerico, Paolo Scavino (especially Cannubi) and Sandrone, as well as Gaja‘s Barbaresco were up to their now-consistent high standards.