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1996 vintage guide for Italy Piedmont

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A troublesome vintage, though the top growers still managed to produce some excellent wines

Weather Conditions

January began with plenty of rain and snow, after which February and March were relatively dry. A wet April gave problems with the development of fungal diseases, but May and June were drier and the weather was hot for flowering, subsequently reaching peaks of 36 C in Barbaresco on June 12. After the heat, the weather was variable into July with widespread rain. July and August remained rather cool and variable with above average rainfall. After a wet start, September was warm and dry up until 4 days of heavy rain from the 19th of the month. The end of the month and early October was dry for picking.

Best Appellations

Despite a difficult vintage all areas in Piedmont produced some very good wines. Barolo in particular showed greater ripeness than in 1995 with marginally lower levels of acidity. Barbaresco was a notch above 1995 in quality. 1996 was a good vintage for Barbera, similar to 1995 but with lower acidity.

Best Producers

There are a number of delicious Barbareschi that can already be approached with confidence. Outstanding growers are Bricco Rocche (Bricco Asili), Cigliuti, Giuseppe Cortese, Gaja, La Spinetta, Pasquero, Pelissero (Vanotu) , Albino Rocca, Sottimano

In Barolo the best growers include: Altare, Clerico, Aldo Conterno, Corino, Giacomo Conterno, Conterno-Fantino, Gaja, Elio Grasso, Silvio Grasso, Bartolo Mascarello, Prunotto, Oberto, Paolo Scavino, Roberto Voerzio

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