Thanks Marco! (pictured above)
Now that the harvest has come to an end and the alcoholic fermentation is almost complete I can finally announce, together with our entire team, that 2014 has been a great harvest! It was an almost impossible mission to accomplish. I had previously said that 2013 was the hardest vintage agronomically speaking, but I had no idea what the future was holding for me.
A mild and rainy winter was followed by an early and just as rainy spring. At the beginning of June the vegetative state of the vines was two weeks ahead, a gradual development, as April and May were slightly warmer than usual.
However, due to the unseasonably cold conditions of June and July, these two weeks of prematurity were eventually balanced, but the rainfall had increased the risks of blight and oidium attacks. Fortunately, we were mostly unaffected due to a scrupulous gestation of the entire vineyard and to the copper-based treatments given at the right times. The hardest challenge of all was to fight the oidium, as only sulfur is allowed in organic wineries, which counteracts the oidium and “disinfects” the plant, but only when 23-25° C are reached, making it extremely difficult and laborious during the months of June and July.
However, in mid-August the grapes were looking beautiful and were in excellent condition. Only 2-3% of the clusters were attacked by oidium, and these had been removed during the green-harvest to lighten up the grape-load on the vines. August was a cloudy month, especially in the area of Gaiole, but luckily, there was very a little rain.
Seeing the grapes a bit late in maturation by mid-August, I enrolled a big team of workers and defoliated around the clusters, so that they were left completely in the sun, two weeks earlier than normal. Usually I defoliate only on one side, while this year I decided to do it on both sides of the cordons. I opted to take the risk, at that point in late summer, even though really high temperatures and hot weather were still a possibility. But it did not happen. Instead it was a little sunny with some clouds and almost no rain.
I then lightened the load on the vines even more, considering that this vintage gave high yields and the weather hadn’t yet given us any kind of assurance that beautiful weather was on its way.
I will not tell you about all the flies that we have had, due to the fresh summer, which we fought organically with bacillus…
Thanks to the magnificent terroir at Monti, located in the Commune of Gaiole in Chianti, and to our agronomic choices, most of the grapes remained in really great condition.
Warm and dry days (24-27° C) - thanks to the winds blowing in from the Northeast - and cool, almost cold nights (7-9 ° C), gave a decisive boost to the grapes.
After 20 years, this is a harvest that was generous and amongst the best ever produced by Rocca di Montegrossi.
Fruit set to dry on the vinsantaia for Rocca di Montegrossi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico
Attilio Pagli our winemaker, who as you know is one of the best in Italy and who usually is not very "indulgent" with free compliments, tasted through all of our wines and offered much praise.
It was the most stressful year of my whole life as a producer, but if these are the results it totally worth the stress!
To read more about the wines from Marco di Montegrossi, read here.