A variable vintage of irregular quality. Some good Barolo and Barbaresco
The year began cold and frosty with little snow. February was much warmer and spring-like, although it ended with a cold and snowy sting in the tail. March began wintry, became warmer and humid then ended cool and dry. Spring came in April with higher temperatures followed by cooler periods with plenty of rain. May was very wet until the last 10 days. Peronospora was a continuing problem. June was hot and well-ventilated in Barolo but Barbaresco suffered a deluge. July was stormy and variable until late in the month when summer really kicked off. August was largely hot and sunny. The crucial month of September was variable with some fine days, but then finished with copious rainfall, in dreary replication of the previous two harvests. October saw little relief for harvesters, beginning with 10 continuous days of light rain. A sunny gap in mid-month was a cue for frantic picking of the remaining Nebbiolo crop before the next barrage of rain.
Some reasonable quality Barolo and Barbaresco was made, but this was another less than inspiring year. After the disastrous quality of the two previous vintages, it was to be expected that some desperate growers attempted to hype the 1993 vintage. Often very enjoyable at an early stage in their development, the Nebbiolo-based wines lack any great structure. Even the best are now already in decline.
Good Barolo was made by Azelia, Clerico, Michele Chiarlo (Cerequio), Gaja, Elio Grasso, Principiano, and Revello. Names to look out for in Barbaresco include Albino Rocca and Gaja.