Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2017 Vintage | See Montepulciano for more about this region of Tuscany, Italy.

In brief | A year of extreme weather. Yields 30-45% down on 2016.

2017 Growing season Less abundant than usual winter rains. Only 280mm rain fell between October 2016 and March 2017, whereas 400mm is normal. But there was abundant rainfall in February and March. The rainfall of these two months, which managed to integrate the low groundwater reserves, was roughly equivalent to the entire rainfall of 2017. Mild early spring. Normal budburst around the end of March (26th), early April (to 7 April). Then between 19-21 April sub-zero night time temperatures caused damage to the tender young shoots both on the valley floor but also in hill sites where the vines were at a more advanced stage of growth. Around 20% of the region’s vineyards suffered. This was not the normal frost caused by temperature inversion (radiation), which usually causes damage on the valley floor, but a frost attributable to masses of transported cold air (advection) combined with wind which caused widespread damage along its course, with especially serious effects on the valley floor where such masses tend to settle. Re-growth was hampered by a lack of groundwater. Flowering ended in the last 10 days of May (22-31 May). The rest of the spring saw above average temperatures, especially in June, which had low relative humidity and little rainfall. July was normal (hot and sunny), with rain at the end of the month. From mid-July, much earlier than usual, cane ripening began. Heat wave temperatures of up to 35-40°C arrived in the first 10 days of August, with temperatures of 30-35°C for the rest of the month. This caused evotranspiration, slowing grape ripening. From the start of September it was cooler than average, with 5-6 days of much needed rain. Despite this, internode spacings were smaller than usual, and sugar levels were modest as the plants absorbed the September rains. ‘A hot season, like 2015’, Giuseppe Rigoli told me (Anteprima 2020).

2017 Wine quality Small berries, high skin to pulp ratios. Medium-high sugars, medium-low acidity. Good phenolic ripeness. Deep colour.