Seasonal Progress Vintage 2007.
The grape harvest 2007 in Valpolicella will be remembered as the earliest of the last 70 years.
This extraordinary event was characterised by a very mild winter and an early restart of vine vegetation growth. The month of April was in fact very hot, reaching the highest temperatures for the period of the last 50 years. All the successive phenologic phases were early by up to 15/20 days in respect of the yearly averages, an anticipation which subsequently carried on through the months leading up to the harvest.
Important events of this vintage took place in the months of June and July, the days of clear blue skies and a clear brightness which combined with the early start to the season and caused some noticeable burning, mainly to the Corvine grape variety. Corvinoni e Rondinelle however, resisted very well these atmospheric conditions and, like never before, this vintage showed no evident damage.
In this year it was seen for example that the strong sunlight on the grapes was mitigated in the grapes grown in pergolas, such as our historical vineyard “delle Bessole”, whilst our new vineyards at Guyot di Mazzurega suffered some burning on the south facing slopes.
Rainfall in this vintage was as indicated in the following graph, below the historical average, but well distributed and without torrential downpours, guaranteeing in this way a regular distribution in all the phenologic phases.
The temperature data of minimum and maximum temperatures should be considered as extreme monthly values.
The determining factor of this vintage is without doubt the extreme health of the grapes, which arrived at maturity with very little treatment necessary. This is for us a very important element, given it is fundamental for the conservation of the grapes in the racks for Amarone and Recioto wines.
Another important event of this year was a violent hailstorm on 30th August at 10:00 in the morning. A few minutes of great intensity and with hailstones of a size never seen before, it devastated East Valpolicella and Valpantena.
The Valpolicella Classica region was however only marginally affected and only in quite small areas. Our vineyards “delle Bessole” and “Mazzurega” fortunately were saved.
The harvest, as I said, began on the incredible date of September 4thin the “delle Bessole” vineyard, whilst at Mazzurega it was on 15th September.
Differently to what was happening on the rest of the Italian peninsula, the quantity harvested was in the average, but above all, the quality of the grapes was excellent.Thanks to the month of August which showed a marked difference in temperature between day and night (over 15°C) a gradual increase in the degree of sugars and an exceptional accumulation of polyphenolic substances were noted.
The selection of grapes for Amarone was carried out in dry and breezy climatic conditions, ideal for good storage in racks.
At the pressing of Valpolicella, musts were seen with a low total acidity and a PH tending towards high for our area, but with a good buffering quality, sign of a good acidic stability.
The fact, however, that characterises this vintage was the extreme heat and the polyphenolic structure that the wines show together with an aromatic range is unexpected from a year which was hot.
The exceptionally early start of the harvest inevitably affected the period of withering which, thanks to a special decree of the prefect (over 110 days), it was possible to already begin pressing on 1st December.
All the period of withering, from September to November, passed with temperatures somewhat high, good ventilation, low humidity and, above all, with no foggy days. The grapes during pressing proved extremely healthy, with a reduction in weight which reached the extraordinary value of 40%.
Following fermentation, which was carried outin the norm, an Amarone was seen that I believe equal only to the famous years of 1998 and 2000. Impenetrable colour, together with a purple tone and a degree of alcohol which is close to 16°, well diffused and in no way stratified.
Now in order to confirm these initial indications one needs to have patience, wait and allow the wood and time to finish the job which nature has so far conducted with great skill and generosity.