Every year Vinexus holds its ANTEPRIMA Barolo, Brunello, Barbaresco. This year was special. Rarely do two great vintages, for very different reasons, come one after the other and in the case Barolo and Brunello, this means they are released together.
In October, at the INSTITUTE OF MASTERS OF WINE, Vinexus showed some of the best expressions of terroir driven Italian classics, covering all the different communes and MeGAs (menzioni geografiche aggiuntive) of Barolo and the North, Middle, South expressions of Brunello. Let us not forget Barbaresco whose 2017s were showing very well for a more complicated vintage.
Below are the Vintage notes written by NICOLAS BELFRAGE MW:
The 2016 vintage was certainly one of the longest and latest of recent years. This was evident from the start by a mild winter with little precipitation.
Towards the end of February and for the whole of March temperatures nosedived and rainfall doubled, though neither factor was as marked as in the previous vintage. This brought about a deceleration of vegetation of about ten days.
Spring brought more showers without causing significant disease, thanks to low night time temperatures. All the grapes harvested were beautifully healthy and even the dreaded hailstorms were less intense than those of the previous year.
Growers happily reported good but not excessive sugar levels and solid structure. The picking of the grapes took place in fine weather which in the case of Nebbiolo tend-ed to produce very balanced wines from the point of view of malic acids and potential alcohol.
The delay in development referred to above occurred mainly in August and September. In particular, the second half of the month of September was determining for the components which will go to characterise the 2016 Nebbiolos.
In short, 2016 offered growers the opportunity of producing top-quality wines, at least equal to the outstanding 2015’s, against which, like 1989 and 1990, they will be inevitably compared in decades to come.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2015
Coming after a relative duffer like 2014, 2015 in Montalcino was welcomed from the off by growers anxious to recoup their losses. With the benefit of hindsight, that wonderful thing, 2014 was a lot better than billed, and responsible for a particularly successful Rosso di Montalcino – but we weren’t to know that, were we?.
Descriptors for the latest candidate for “Vintage of the Century” featured “very hot”, “plentiful groundwater”, “healthy fruit”, “small berries/bunches”, “perfect weather conditions”, “balance of sugars and phenolics”, “non-excessive alcohol” etc..
For those who like their vintage report step-by-step : Winter was cold and rainy, ideal for building reserves of underground water; Spring prolonged the atmospheric humidity, causing minor problems at flowering. A very hot July caused some blockage of photosynthesis.
“Invaiatura” (veraison) commenced in mid-to-end-July. The latter part of August saw some rain. September enjoyed thermal excursions – ideal for the creation of complex aromas.
The harvest began just before the mid- point of September and continued into October with a heavy rainfall around October the 10th. But of course all the best producers had pretty well finished picking by then: a near-miracle which seems to occur in more years than I can remember.
Anyway, in the case of 2015, the final result was one to rejoice over and it was foreseen that it would grow in bottle for many years to come.
The year 2017 will be remembered in Barbaresco for its lofty temperatures, its general lack of precipitation and in particular for its precociousness, being one of the earliest har-vest on record. Picking began in the middle of September and finished at the end of October, a good fortnight earlier than the aver-age.
Winter was mild with little snow. Spring was somewhat rainy although there were few incidents of rot. Summer was very hot but September brought a cooling-down and a good interchange between day and night temperatures.
Volume were satisfactory, and there were anthocyanins and tannins in plenty.