2009 vintage report / part 1
Barolo, martedì 13 ottobre 2009
As you all know, I am quite allergic to any kind of newsletter or “news from the winery” and always try to avoid any communication, even if asked a few times. Blame it on me.
But Sunday morning something happened. Something so unexpected that made us all happy and thankful and I couldn’t but write to share this happiness with you all.
We woke up at , not too early for a harvest day at Vajra, but early enough to see the last part of the night fading away and letting space to the dawn. The sky was bright, no clouds, and plenty of stars, with a crispy wind and a temperature of 11°C (52°F, roughly 9 Celsius degrees less than the previous day!). So, when finally the sun came, we could see the glory of a perfect Nebbiolo day: no clouds ( we have had a foggy, very Piemontese weather for the previous two weeks, which culminated on a light rain in the night between Friday and Saturday), no humidity, a strong wind from the Alps that dried the night dew and the residues of the week-end rain in a bunch of hours. And –oh yes- I could finally see the Monviso (that tall and lonely mountain that you see in the distance, in the picture above, sorry for the poor quality of the image). Monviso is the first mountain I see every day from my window, and to see it again after days and days of Nebbia, you can’t imagine the pleasure of that moment!
My father said these days are called OTTOBRATE, let’s say “the October days”, when the last sunshine comes to Piemonte, the sun is warm, but the cold continental winds already fight and ram the Alps to overcome them and conquer Italy. It’s a perfect combination of climatic factors for a rough variety such as Nebbiolo, and you can feel it, just by standing in the wind.
So, where is the point? We left some of our Nebbiolo grapes still ripening on the vines. We risked, as usual, and left some of the fruit behind to wait for a perfect phenolic ripening, despite the alert of rain for the week-end. As always, our risk is a move of hope: we look the sky and simply ask for some more days of good weather. What if we were unheard? Well, we would use that fruit for some table wine. But with that genius of my father, hazard is quite safe and there we are.
We have been harvesting yesterday and today but only picking two or three bunches per plant. The others won’t ripen until next week. Max temperature today was a quite chilly 18°C (64°F) and will drop down to a very cool 7°C (44°F) tonight, for the second time in a row. The daily sunshine and wind are drying the fruit, with a maximum increase of approx. 1°Babo = 0,6 Beaumé a day. The night cold is helping the synthesis of the aromatic compounds, which I imagine will be terrific. And when I look the skins, still thick and strong, and the stems, and see the pedicello (the portion that connect the berry to the stem) is red, I freak out.
Ok, got to go back to cellar now. Sometimes during the night I will complete my thesis report, since I am getting my degree on the 23rd. Anyhow, I promise I will be diligent and write you more about the 2009 vintage in a bunch of weeks. Here a few pictures taken in the last days.
Giuseppe per Aldo, Milena, Francesca e Isidoro Vaira.
Barolo village and castle, from La
Nebbiolo from a CVT-142 clone.
Average data for the 142 clone (one of the 6 planted in La
Mosto: concentrazione zuccherina elevata (22,6 %), acidità pronunciata ma equilibrata (pH 3,02 - ac. tartarico 9,20 g/l - ac. malico 3,10 g/l).
Gabri, il braccio destro di Aldo. He has been with us for almost 20 years, and he is still one of the few in short-sleeve today… look at the blue sky above, no clouds on the horizon.
A picture of some days ago: Aldo with Federico, Maria Jose ( a young Chilean winemaker) and Claudio on the sorting table.