Very good vintage, bordering on five stars for some appellations. Top wines show a fresh, fine fruit quality, expressive aromas, and good tannic structure.
Like Piedmont, Tuscany ’s growing cycle was around three weeks earlier than usual, thanks to an unusually mild, dry winter and record temperatures in March and April. Central Italy also experienced one of the hottest Julys in the past five years, which meant the rainfall in August was particularly welcome, helping to take the edge of the accelerated maturation.
A super-early harvest followed, with early-ripening varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Primitivo being picked in July rather than August, while the bulk of the Sangiovese was harvested a fortnight early, during the second week of September. Later ripening varieties were gathered in by mid-October.
Fine weather at the crucial final stage of grape ripening allowed producers to harvest at optimum ripeness, risking a little extra hang-time if necessary. Generally, the grapes were extremely healthy, with yields down 10% on the average.
The reds in Tuscany have relatively high alcohol due to the hot, dry season, but there’s good acidity too, which bodes well for ageing. The stars of the vintage are Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rossi di Montepulciano which are fantastically well-balanced, concentrated wines with excellent aromatic profiles. Elsewhere, the extra hang-time at
the end of the season has produced some intense Cabernet-based wines from Bolgheri, where the Merlot is also promising.
Not sufficiently tasted as yet, though ones to watch so far include Moris Farms, Podere Airone, Marchesi Antinori, Podere Poggio, Il Poggione, La Poderina, Pian dell’Orino, Fattoria dei Barbi, Cantine Leonardo.