By Cristina Mariani-May, Banfi Vintners
In America we are back to school, in Italy, we are back to the vineyards for vendemmia – it’s grape-picking time.
The harvest began on August 19th in Piedmont with the picking of Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir), which will go into our sparkling wines made in the classic Champenoise method – Cuvee Aurora Rose and Banfi Brut. The Pinot Nero has been completely harvested and we are continuing by picking Brachetto.
Piedmont enjoyed a warm and dry winter that resulted in favored early budding. However, a rain-filled spring slowed down growth, and frequent storms in the early summer kept temperatures low, resulting in late veraison. The grapes are very healthy, perfectly matured, and showing good acidity.
Meanwhile, in Montalcino we began harvest on August 29th with the first cuttings of Pinot Grigio, which took about a week to pick, and started choosing Chardonnay grapes on September 6th. We’ll begin picking Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino over the next week.
There is still time for the reds, and as of now, early red varieties such as Merlot and Syrah are ripening very well. Good news for Sangiovese also, as it is ripening perfectly, thanks to a wide diurnal swing. The weather remains fair and the grapes are in healthy condition, with small, concentrated berries yielding good extract.
The growing season was consistent for our Montalcino microclimate and our other Tuscan estates – Chianti, Chianti Classico, Bolgheri, and Maremma. Despite early budding, cool temperatures in May and June moderated growth and the weather was fairly even. Throughout, harvest conditions have been ideal, with warm days and cool nights. Assuming all continues well, we’ll have expected quantities for all grapes and an outstanding 2016 vintage.
About Banfi Vintners
Banfi Vintners was founded in New York in 1919 by John F. Mariani, Sr. and built into America’s leading wine marketer over the last four decades. The company continues to be family-owned by the founder’s children and grandchildren, who are also proprietors of the Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany; Vigne Regali Cellars in Strevi, Piedmont; and Pacific Rim Winery in Washington’s Columbia Valley. For more information, visit www.banfiwines.com.