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Monthly Archives: October 2009

  • The Frost Pocket Sauvignon Blanc

  • Tre Bicchieri news -14 in 2010

    gam-rossHere are the winners from Enotria's Italian stable of the much coveted Tre Bicchieri (3 glasses) award for Gambero Rosso 2010. Barolo Cannubi 05 E. Pira Barolo Vigna Lazzarito La Delizia 04 Fontanafredda Coevo 06 Famiglia Cecchi (more on this amazing wine soon!) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Asinone 06 Poliziano Siepi 06 Castello di Fonterutoli Vernaccia di S. Gimignano Ris. 05 Giovanni Panizzi Valpolicella Cl. Sup. Vigneto Ognissanti 06 Bertani (our newest arrival - wines coming soon) Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Cl. Plenio Ris. 06 Umani Ronchi Pelago 06 Umani Ronchi Vintage Tunina 07 Jermann Carignano del Sulcis Sup. Terre Brune 05 Cantina Sociale di Santadi Cometa 08 Planeta Valtellina Sfursat 5 Stelle 06 Nino Negri Lugana Sup. Molceo 07 Ottella Congratulazioni!

  • Vintage reports - Europe 2009

    Following on from our Sicily notes yesterday, here is the news from the rest of Europe

    FRANCE

    Loire Healthy grapes were gathered throughout the Loire Valley, with good yields in areas such as Saumur, particularly for whites. The Central vineyards were affected by hail during the summer and as a result yields in some parts of Sancerre and Pouilly are down considerably. Menetou Salon’s vineyards were decimated by hail and production in ’09 will be minimal. Northern Rhône Yves Cuilleron of the eponymous estate in Condrieu is “super content” with the 2009 vintage. After a tiny 2008 vintage he is able to replenish his cellars with a top quality, and copious harvest. The reds are equally good quality with ripe tannins and excellent sugar levels. Southern Rhône “Qualité fantastique” according to Laurent Brusset in Cairanne, who reckons that the 2009 vintage will be similar to the excellent 2007, but with better freshness. Yields in the Southern Rhône are small, with Brusset reporting volumes down 30% due to the dry year and some hail in Gigondas. Burgundy The whole of Burgundy, including Chablis, appears delighted by the quality of the 2009 vintage. Growers were worried in the summer that high temperatures would impact negatively on the natural balance within both white and red grapes, but 2 days of welcome rain in late August “saved” the vintage. Natural sugar levels are excellent, and healthy grapes were harvested throughout the region. Beaujolais According to Pierre Chermette, owner of Domaine du Vissoux in Fleurie, 2009 is probably the finest vintage in living memory; his 96 year old father can not remember a better vintage in Beaujolais. “Magnifique” is the word that comes up time and again when discussing 2009. The wines have lovely balance and soft tannin structure. Southern France Generally a smaller than normal vintage in the Languedoc, both for reds and whites. This is primarily due to the programme of vineyard uprooting, particularly red varieties, that has been gaining momentum in the area in recent years. White volumes are down due to spring frosts. Quality of both whites and reds is excellent. Gascony Quality and quantity are the watchwords for Gascony in 2009. After 2 very small vintages, the gods looked favourably on the region and the vintage is back to a normal sized crop. Whites will be aromatic and balanced. Bordeaux A long, cold winter was followed by a dry and sunny summer. Grape health was high and some are already comparing 2009 with the top quality 2005 vintage, albeit with slightly lower acidity and higher alcohol. Volumes will probably be slightly higher across the region, with the exception of some areas badly affected by hail, which was particularly severe around St Emilion. Champagne Much has been written about the agreement reached between the growers and négotiants to limit the harvest. However, some reports overstate the effects and, to cut a long story short, the probable average yield will be around 12.8 tonnes as against 14.2 last year, a reduction of only around 8.5%. Quality, on the other hand, looks good at this early stage. Joelle Marti Baron at Champagne Henriot says that the 2009 quality overall is looking very good and the much publicised reduction in yields will only help this quality standard. SPAIN Rioja 2009 has not been a straightforward vintage in Rioja, with very hot conditions throughout summer and an acute lack of rain. It is still too early to give a final assessment of the vintage as not all the grapes have been harvested, but growers appear overall to be content with the results. Rueda Generally warmer than average conditions have provided a small crop of white wines in 2009. Acidity levels are lower than in 2008, but the wines are nevertheless balanced and fresh. PORTUGAL (Douro) Miguel Roquette from Crasto is very enthusiastic about the 2009 harvest. Volumes are slightly down in the Douro as a whole, but quality looks promising for Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional. As usual, he was reticent about going into any further detail before March – the wines themselves were going through malolactic when we spoke to him. ITALY Piedmont For the first time in years the winter was very cool, with abundant snowfall which completely replenished depleted water reserves. In fact, autumn winter precipitation figures are the highest on record since 1803. This meant that budbreak was a week late. However, by late May the weather had warmed up so that flowering took place on time; August was the hottest since 2003, and the harvest was earlier than 2008. Grape health was good, and although the weather was very warm at times, the replenished water reserves meant that grape maturation was not blocked at any point and good phenolic ripeness was achieved. The warm weather and replenished water reserves also boosted volumes, which are estimated to be 10% up across the varieties, with the exception of Nebbiolo, which is slightly down on 2008. Chiara Boschis at E.Pira described the incoming Nebbiolo as 'sensational' Veneto A cool, rainy and snowy winter was followed by a warm summer. In areas without significant hail damage, yields were up. However, Soave, Bardolino and Valpolicella all suffered considerable damage, with the result that volumes across the region are the same as last year. In addition to this, both Valpolicella and Soave have acted to restrict maximum permitted yields to adapt supply to demand. Sugar levels are slightly up, aromatics are developed and acidity is within norms suggesting a high quality ripe vintage. Tuscany Rainfall was high from autumn through to mid spring. However, by the time budbreak occurred, the weather was much drier with the result that there were very few problems with fungal diseases. This continued until the rains in June and July which required some treatment with spraying. A warm summer ensured full phenolic maturity, and a high level of quality is anticipated across all the Chianti varieties. Volume is up around 5% across the region. GERMANY It is early to say much about quality, as most of the Riesling is still on the vines. As for technical parameters, sugar ripeness seems to be good across the board, but acidities seem to be much more heterogenous at this stage, with some regions showing high levels and others already ripe. Yields look slightly lower, in line with the long term trend.

  • Secco Valpolicella Valpantena Bertani

  • Sicily - the news on '09

    This just in from Owen 'birdman' Bird, Enotria group winemaker, who has been overseeing the harvest in Sicily for us... During winter and spring there seemed to be more than sufficient rainfall, and more than would seasonally be expected. This tended to produce a greater level of vegetation and meant some varietals tended towards physiological ripeness somewhat later than normal. A hot June and July provided plenty of sugar ripeness and vintage commenced in the first week of August. The season factors resulted in a number of varietals having a reduction in their normal yield levels whilst aromatic development and structures in the wines were very good. Cold fermentation and reductive handling techniques achieved excellent results, combined with yeast selections appropriate for both the varietal characteristics and the particular nature of the vintage. Early harvesting of more aromatic varieties has produced some vibrant results with fine delicate structures, not traditionally associated with Sicilian white wine production. The close consultation working relationship between the viticultural team and the winemaking team allowed a harvest planned to maximise these opportunities. Whites are showing both structure, balance, and good aromatic profiles. Advances in handling techniques are providing crisper, more vibrant whites. Reds this year responded well to winemaking techniques resulting in good deep colours and particularly good fruit flavours in both Nero d'Avola and Shiraz.

  • Amaral Pinot Noir Rose

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