Lovely, ripe whites with good concentration and reds with excellent aging potential—chewy, concentrated, and phenolic
‘Throughout the 1990s we’ve had really good vintages,’ says Giovanni Sandri, a Monforte-based winemaker best known for his Barolos and Dolcettos, ‘but this will definitely be one of the best. Right across the board.’
Giandomenico Negro, a Piedmont-based consultant oenologist, disagrees. ‘I think it’s going to be a very variable year, although it’s almost certainly going to be a great vintage for whites.’ The source of their disagreement lies in the nature of Piedmont’s topography: the extremely hilly nature of the region creates a range of micro-climates that varies from vineyard to vineyard. Each winemaker must make his own personal assessment of the ideal time to harvest his crop – and it is the skill and experience of each individual in determining this that, inevitably, affects the quality of the vintage. According to Sandri, ‘The trick will be to balance the grapes from the most exposed and the least exposed vines to create the ideal blend’.
Because Piedmont produces wines from a range of varietals (and because of the varying micro-climates of the region), there is no universal start/finish date for the harvest. The Moscato was harvested during the first fortnight of September, Dolcetto was next – all of these grapes were picked by the end of the month. The Barbera harvest began late in September, relatively early, while the Nebbiolo wasn’t picked until mid-October. All picking is done by hand.
‘On the whole, the reds are very phenolic, very ripe, with high colour and tannins,’ says Negro. ‘The Barbera will be high in acidity, while the Nebbiolo looks like it will achieve great ripeness this year.’
Barolo and Barbaresco