Brunello earliest harvest ever

Brunello earliest harvest ever News Wine News
  • Wednesday 3 September 2003

Brunello producers in Montalcino will begin harvesting Sangiovese this week and next – probably the earliest vintage ever for the famous Tuscan variety.

Italian harvests of white grapes and early ripening red varietals such as Merlot are underway and in many regions are already finished. The extended heatwave of the summer has meant grape harvests all over Italy have been pushed weeks ahead.

According to highly respected producer Franco Biondi-Santi, who will begin harvesting on 4 September, this is the earliest harvest ever for Brunello. He told decanter.com, 'At Il Greppo (one of the most sought-after Biondi Santi estates), we usually begin harvesting about the third week of September. This year is the earliest we have ever started. But the grapes are ready. The latest analysis shows their acidity and ph levels are already correct, and they are perfectly matured.'

Biondi-Santi, who last year had to declassify his Brunello due to torrential rains, adds 'as long as it doesn't begin raining during the harvest, 2003 should be an excellent vintage, producing Brunellos with concentrated colour, great structure and balance.'

Yet while quality looks to be outstanding, quantities are down. Biondi-Santi says that his harvest will be about 35% less than usual.

Banfi spokesman Dante Cecchini, who will begin harvesting Sangiovese after the 10th, two weeks earlier than usual, also says that while 2003 was a difficult year and quantity is way down, the vintage should produce excellent wines. According to Cecchini, '2003 promises to be a wonderful year for Brunello, concentrated and destined to withstand long ageing.'

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