The harvest is now history, the vines have changed colour, dressing our hills in tawny yellow, and it is time for us to draw up the seasons balance sheet. First of all, we can state that this years harvest was without doubt one of the longest in recent years. Kicking off on 5 September with the early-ripeners, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, it continued with regularity, according to the normal ripening period of each grape variety, to finally conclude on 12 October. That was made possible only by excellent weather conditions throughout the season, with above-average temperatures and very few rains, as well as by constant monitoring of the clusters.
Weather, as always, was the crucial factor, the key to a very felicitous harvest. A mild winter with little rain was followed by abundant rains in the spring, then a mild summer brought significant day-night temperature differentials. These conditions favoured optimal vine growth, so much so that only in late summer did we have to perform a little cluster-thinning, followed later by an equally light leaf-pulling; these operations ensured good canopy-fruit balance and satisfactory exposure of the clusters to the sun, particularly for the red grapes.
Adding additional advantage this year to the favourable weather and to our teams impressive expertise was the adoption of a now technological instrument, a latest-generation optical sorter that can recognize, with the greatest accuracy, the soundest, ripest berries; this meticulous operation is performed in the least-invasive manner possible, utilizing vibrators and compressed air, so as not to stress the berries. Once the berries have been removed from the stem, they are examined by an optical lens on the basis of shape, colour, and relative ripeness. Only the finest berries, in perfect shape, arrive in the cellar, ready for fermentation. Thus, this instrument represents the connecting link between the vineyard and the cellar, a second, ultra-efficient selection that follows the primary hand-inspection in the vineyard. The fact that we are one of only six wineries in Italy to make the considerable investment in this machine underscores the commitment that we have always shown in searching for means that will help us ensure absolute quality in our wines while fully respecting nature.
If, however, it is true that nature can be assisted by expertise and preserved by technology, it still remains the primary fashioner of a wines personality, underscoring in the case at hand the superb quality of the 2016 vintage. With respect to the white wines, for example, significant day-night temperature differentials favoured preservation of very crisp, fruit-rich aromatics, as well as excellent levels of acidity, guaranteeing fine body and longevity. The reds, on the other hand, will display impressive concentrations of anthocyanins, intense colour, and crisp, fruity aromatics, while tannins and structure will gradually harmonize as the wines matures.
All of the elements are thus in place for an outstanding vintage, and all we have to do now is wait for time to sculpt the unmistakable personalities of our wines.