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1989 vintage guide for Italy Piedmont

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An excellent vintage, free of the rains which plagued the rest of Italy

Weather Conditions

Despite a cold winter with periods of sun alternating with heavy fogs, there was no snow for the second year in succession. The dry spell continued throughout the early spring with temperatures climbing towards the end of March for bud-break in the better-exposed sites. April, however, was wet and foggy. Though temperatures continued to rise, stormy weather brought hail at the end of May and the beginning of June. The communes of Barolo and Serralunga suffered the worst. Fortunately humidity levels remained fairly low and the diminished crop healthy. The weather turned around in the middle of June with a succession of warm, dry days and though violent hailstorms hit the Roero in the second week of July, the rest of the month was very hot and dry. Although a little variable to start with, most of August enjoyed warm and dry conditions. The beginning of September was disappointing and retarded the development of crop which, up till then, was very advanced. The second half of the month was very fine for the Dolcetto and Barbera harvests and the Nebbiolo crop was in perfect shape when picked in early October.

Best Appellations

A uniformly exceptional vintage, on a level with 1985, if perhaps bettered by 1990. Hail in some parts of Barolo reduced the crop. Some Baroli reached close to 15% alcohol. The wines are big and powerful, with masses of ripe fruit overlying a tight structure that in many cases is just starting to become accessible.

Best Producers

In a year of so many greats, it is hard to single out a few wines for praise. Altare, Clerico, Corino, Aldo Conterno, Gaja, Sandrone, Paolo Scavino, and Roberto Voerzio all made superlative wines in Barolo

In Barbaresco, Cigliuti, Gaja, Moccagatta, Pasquero and Prunotto (Monte Stefano) hit the heights.

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