Florence, August 2021 – Within 10 days (and starting a bit late), the 2021 harvest is just about to kick off at the Frescobaldi Toscana vineyards. Although there was heavy rainfall throughout the 2020-21 winter, winter pruning practices were not affected and all groundwater reserves were filled. In fact, the rain also helped the healthy development of cover-cropping in the vineyards (placements of other plants between and under the rows of vines) and hence, the flourishing of biodiversity. Spring arrived late and its below average temperatures slowed bud-break and shoot growth on all the Frescobaldi wine estates.
Unfortunately, the night of April 8th resulted in a late freeze that damaged low-lying vineyards, particularly those planted with Sangiovese, an early-budding grape. Fortunately, the higher-quality Sangiovese, lying at elevations of over 300 metres, escaped unscathed.
Overall, summer was quite hot; resulting in the younger vineyards requiring emergency irrigation. Thankfully, it is now Frescobaldi’s standard practice to install irrigation when planting new vineyards to cope with weather extremes, which are now an expected phenomenon due to climate change.
Through late June, temperatures remained well below seasonal averages and cold nights had a positive impact, encouraging canopy growth and cluster development. Flowering and fruit set occurred normally, thanks to fine, even weather.
The rainfall on August 28th was very useful for the final stage of ripening since it encouraged all the aromatic precursors and pigments to migrate from the leaves into the growing clusters. The rains were well distributed over the entire region of Tuscany and heavy enough for good soil penetration, which gave relief to the vines after a long and challenging period of dry, hot weather.
At the Castello Pomino vineyard, Frescobaldi expects to start harvesting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the Leonia premium wines on 23 August; the clusters are optimally ripe, with acidity that has stayed satisfactorily high. Pomino’s elevation allows a gradual ripeness process without “burning off” tartaric acid, so the must retains its natural vitality.
In the Maremma vineyard, on the Tenuta Ammiraglia, irrigation ensured that the vines were able to avoid any heat stress that might have compromised the quality of the rosé varietals and Vermentino. But the team will wait until mid-September to finally start picking.
In Montalcino, small clusters and concentrated berries lead to an exceptional-quality harvest expected, though the production of Rosso di Montalcino will be less than usual.
In Chianti Rufina, at Nipozzano, harvest is still quite some ways off, but both the vine canopies and crop balances are optimal, and an opportune rain over the next few days would certainly help the vines through this final stage of ripening.
At the Castiglioni vineyard, the Sangiovese crop in the more low-lying areas will certainly be a smaller yield, due to the late frost. But the clusters are already intensely pigmented and rich in flavour with supple tannins, so expectations are for high quality.
Frescobaldi Toscana’s winemakers and vineyard teams are hopeful for a strong 2021 harvest and look forward to sharing transparent updates on this year’s harvest from beginning to end.
ABOUT FRESCOBALDI: For nearly 30 generations, the Frescobaldi family has been pioneering the production of wine in Toscana. They’re one of the oldest winemaking families in Italy and are world famous for their collection of diverse estates throughout the Tuscan region. Frescobaldi owns six estates throughout Toscana: Nipozzano, CastelGiocondo, Pomino, Ammiraglia, Castiglioni, and Remole. The estates are located in some of the top wine-producing territories of the region, such as Chianti and Montalcino, known for their prestigious DOCG, DOC, and IGT status.