Piedmont celebrates bumper 2016 harvest and a good year for Barolos

Wine producers in Piedmont in north west Italy are celebrating what they say is going to be a good, strong harvest, with grapes for their Barolo wines looking particularly healthy.

Wine growers  across the region have been largely happy with the outcome of the harvest, reporting a bumper crop in some places and overall good high quality. Grapes are showing good sugar concentration, which is similar to last year, but with greater structure.

Compared to the early 2015 harvest which followed an exceptionally hot summer, and was then rushed due to imminent heavy rain, this year has proved relatively stress free.

“The weather during harvest was fantastic,” said Andrea Sottimano, Neive-based Barbaresco producer, speaking to Decanter.  “We were able to take our time and wait for ripening in every single variety.”   This meant that the harvest was longer than in recent vintages, with some producers only picking the last of their Nebbiolo grapes as late as the last week of October.

“The grape skins are the best I’ve seen in many years, much like they were in 2010,” he added.   Another reason for the longer harvest was the fact that there was simply more grapes to pick.

Chiara Boschis of E Pira & Figla in Barolo which farms organically, said that normally their harvest is 30 – 40% less than the legal maximum permitted, , but this year they were only down by 15%.

One producer even reported having to buy new tanks mid harvest to accommodate the quantity of grapes. “We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Stefano Ferrio of Cascina Ca’Rossa winery, who reported a great year for his white Arneis grapes.

However, not all vineyards were celebrating bumper crops. One commune not to benefit from the big Barolo crop was La Morra, which was affected by hail. However, the quality of the grapes does not appear to have been compromised.

And some areas in Lessona and Bramaterra suffered losses from frost and others from the hail at the end of May.   Meanwhile, those higher humidity regions experienced some problems with downy mildew. “It’s a vintage that showed very well who was able to best work their vineyards,” said Cristiano Garello.

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Neville Blech
 

Qualified as a chartered accountant in 1959 and became passionate about food and wine whilst working in Italy in the early sixties.

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