In La Stampa on Tuesday, 13 September, the 2011 harvest was featured on the first page and then again on pages 26 and 27. We are only halfway through the harvest, but big names in the world of wine are already drawing conclusions about this year’s harvest. The leading headline is “vendemmia tropicale, giù la produzione” (“tropical harvest, production is down”). I agree that production is very low; some of my own vineyards attest to this, having produced half their normal yield. But I don’t think one can speak of a tropical harvest: it was mostly a very cool summer, especially June, July and the beginning of August. What is true is that from mid-August, the temperatures rose considerably. Angelo Gaja contributes his view, and is happy about the low production levels, which lead to higher quality, rebalancing the markets and avoiding overproduction.
I would point out, however, that the rule less product, higher quality is not always true of all varieties and vintages.
In the subsequent pages of La Stampa, journalist Paolo Massobrio also contributes his perspective, noting that the harvest as a whole is taking place at least twenty days early this year and associating this year with the magnificent 1982.
As a producer, I am not yet ready to commit, in part because the Nebbiolo grapes are still on the vine, and as a good Piedmontese from Langa, I will offer my opinion when the bunches of grapes are all safe in my temperature-regulated wine production facilities.
The influential journalist Antonio Galloni of Wine Advocate also offers his point of view. He is more cautious and does not yet speak of the vintage. He does comment, however, on the increase of Italian wine consumption in the USA and laments the absence of wine industry leaders in Italy by comparison to France.
Normally these articles appear at the end of the campaign, but this year, they, too, are early – perhaps too much so?