Hand Harvesting at Marco Cecchini
We just received a harvest report from Marco Cecchini in Friuli, along with these sweet photographs:
2011 has been a sunny season in the northeast of Italy, especially in Friuli Venezia Giulia with days of rain under the normal average! It's been the complete opposite of 2010.
Dry spring and summer days help, following a natural way to cultivate the vines. Copper and sulfur help the canopy with no herbicides.
On the other hand, after some rains in July, we faced a very hot and arid August and early September.
Vines are like people. When it's too hot, you slow down your actions.
This has meant variable acidities for the white varietals, and tannins that aren't completely ripened for the red grapes. But the sugar content was rising fast because of the drying of the grapes.
Partially dried Friulano
As I always say, the "timing" for picking, this year in particular, was very important. Much more important if your target is not a massive wine, but a very well balanced and equilibrated wine that could express our terroir.
Fortunately, we run many small vineyards, each of them expressing different attitudes. The old vines face the climate changes better and allow us to correct the lower acidities from the younger vineyards.
My Own Friuli
The Pinot Grigio was picked on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of September and the Friulano (for the "Tove") a week later.
The fermentations are still going on (I am writing on the 26th), because the high sugar content makes them slower and more delicate.
We have three different bases for the Pinot Grigio and three for the Tove! We check the fermentations in all the tanks twice a day.
Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso was harvested on the 24th and the Cabernet Franc on the 25th! This year we are fermenting at low temperatures (18-20 degrees C) to get only the sweet and ripe tannins and to make longer macerations.
The Riesling is still waiting for the right moment to harvest, as is the Verduzzo Friuland and Picolit.
As every year, I am very proud of my picking team. I always consider the wine a product of the land with a high level of humanity. Its inner value is in the story of each person who gives me a hand, all year long, from the pruning to the harvest.
Tasting the must
Many of my colleagues are mechanizing the many passages of the wine production, from the vineyards to the winery.
I will try as much as I can to maintain our artisanal dimension to the winemaking.
I love my job, because every year it is a new challenge to me.
I promise I will do my best to get you the best wines from 2011, to drink in the future, with the people you care about.