Average quality wines with less concentration and structure than better years. The best wines are white
Bizarrely inclement meteorological conditions made 2002 the most difficult vintage in Tuscany since 1992. The spring was late, cool and wet, with record rainfall in the month of May. June was very hot, but the period from July through to October had temperatures well below average and the highest rainfall for years, which meant harvesting between the showers in most parts of the region and often picking before the grapes reached complete ripeness in order to avoid rot.
The central hill zones of Chianti, Montalcino and Montepulciano all suffered the same difficulties with the weather. The wines from all these areas are mixed quality and certainly not for keeping. At Montalcino the producers’ consortium is advising its members to divert wines from Brunello to the second label Rosso di Montalcino. This label, together with the similar Rosso di Montepulciano, will offer some of the best Sangiovese-based wines from the hills. The coast came off better than the centre of the region. Morellino di Scansano for example offers supple wines with immediate fruit. It is not a vintage for laying down in Bolgheri, but the wines (including the little known whites) look soft and approachable. Tuscany ’s only significant native white, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, has surprising body and good aroma.
Rosso di Montalcino from Siro Pacenti and Silvio Nardi are good bets in a very difficult year for Sangiovese. At Montepulciano, Poliziano made a very good Rosso and also came out with a good debut vintage Morellino from their new Lohsa estate. Le Pupille’s entry level Morellino (no selections are expected this year) is also very good. At Bolgheri, look for the second label from Ornellaia called Le Serre Nuove and Tenuta San Guido’s new Guidalberto, stable mate to Sassicaia.