Montalcino, 2014 vintage

Comments apply to all wines coming from the town of Montalcino, not just Brunello. However the star ratings from one to five given below are those given by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino specifically for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.

2014 *** (three)

2014 Growing season | Cool rainy summer, difficult ripening conditions (Ian D’Agata, Decanter Italy 2016). 

Laura Gray (July 2014) of Il Palazzone noted that in July 2014 Montalcino had 8 times the rainfall considered normal which rarely exceeds 25-30 mm and can be much less. 35 mm fell on Wednesday 30th July alone and we are looking at a total monthly rainfall of 150-200 mm depending on vineyard position. We started with hot mornings and wet afternoons and progressed to uninterrupted grey days with showers of varied heaviness. The maturation has stalled because of the lack of warmth and light. This is coupled with run-away vegetative growth (tendrils and leaves) that also sucks away power from the fruit, slowing maturation. There is the likelihood of botrytis and peronospera and other hideous member of the mold families, that are all out in force in the air, especially after the warm winter and spring. The grapes themselves are fatter than usual and the vines have two or three times the normal foliage. This means that the vines now have a water “habit” and need a continued supply of what they are used to – so overly warm August and September temperatures could cause trouble. Ironically even with all this water, the grapes could still suffer “stress idrico” if the hot weather comes. At the moment the forecast for the next couple of months is warm (but not roasting) so there’s still a chance for improvement and for good decisions and vineyard husbandry to make a difference. A good September could still save the vintage… and today the sun is shining. What can we do? Today we start the laborious and painful process of aggressive fruit thinning. We need to increase the aeration between bunches and make sure that what we leave on the vine gets the best of the light and ventilation available. The bunches are super-clumpy this year and need to be carefully detached from each other before this second and inevitable green harvest. Inattentive untangling could break the skins of even just a few grapes per bunch and is an attractive invitation for infection to set in.’

2014 Wine style | ‘Likely lighter than usual wines of limited ageing,’ (Ian D’Agata, Decanter Italy 2016).

2014 Production | The vineyard area comprised 1,919 hectares for Brunello and 509 hectares for Rosso producing 76,524hl of Brunello and 28,030 hl of Rosso respectively.

Bibliography

Kerin O’Keefe, 2012, Brunello di Montalcino (University of California Press, 2012).

Laura Gray (July 2014) Laura Gray of Il Palazzone, blog post 31st July 2014 ‘Polenta in July: Harvest 2014 Update’