Montalcino, 2018 vintage
Comments apply to all wines coming from the town of Montalcino, not just Brunello. However the star ratings are those given by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino specifically for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.
2018 Growing season | 2018 was a challenging growing season with average yields down, although not as severely as 2017. The vintage combined high rainfall (around 450mm) and shorter than usual periods of intense heat, but more heat overall (1.5 degrees C higher than usual). 55mm of rain fell in the 30 days leading up to harvest, with 32mm falling in one occasion in a single hour, Andrea Mantengoli of La Serena told me. There were isolated outbreaks of hail, too. Disease pressure from powdery mildew (oidium), downy mildew (peronospera) and grey rot (Botrytis cinerea) was high throughout the growing season. May, June and July were tough, stretching growers to stay on top of excess vegetative growth and disease. Jan Erbach of Pian dell’Orino said he intended to spray Horn manure 500 on the soil after pruning as an inoculum to promote a natural break-down process of the prunings. He also said he would add compost to the soil so that the beneficial micro-organisms in the compost would out-compete the pathogenic ones, saying ‘we want a diversity of active life to prevent non-beneficial spores climbing back up on the vines and reappearing in 2019,’ he said (29 Sept 2018).