The climactic conditions for the 2016 vintage can be summed up as balanced tending to warm without reaching torrid temperatures during the day in the summer months, having significant diurnal temperature ranges, conditions which favoured a perfect polyphenolic maturation while maintaining sustained acidity levels and giving the wines that balance which is found in exceptional vintages, between sweetness and sapidity, acidity and opulence.
From the first of January to mid-March, there was about 220mm of rainfall evenly distributed throughout that period which resulted in a good water reserve for the following months. This regular rainfall which had no damaging effects completely penetrated the soil thus creating an excellent reserve for the hottest season of the year.
During the month of January, we had twelve solid days of below zero daily minimum temperatures helping eliminate spores and mildew which had accumulated over the previous year, optimal conditions for the rebirth of the vines in optimal phytosanitary conditions.
The beginning of March was mostly cool with minimum night temperatures, and this naturally slowed down the budbreak which started around mid-March ensuring a regular harvest time.
Until April 20, the temperatures were mild during the day and cool at night with significant temperature ranges and without rainfall. The mild temperatures along with the good water reserve, which had accumulated in the soil during the winter months, favoured regular and homogenous vine growth, and we carried out a bud selection at the beginning of May. From April 23 to 25, we had three days of heavy rainfall in terms of the quantity for a total of about 45mm, which did not have any negative effects on the vine health as it was immediately followed by a decrease in temperature and especially by the northern/north-eastern winds which immediately dried the air rendering it unfavourable for any mildew diseases of the vines.
The month of May was rainy with a total of about 100mm of rain, accompanied by cooler than average temperatures which slowed down the vines without compromising their health. The rain later proved fundamental during the driest months of July and August.
The month of June saw only two rainstorms with average seasonal amounts of rainfall.
July and August were two perfect months for the maturation of Sangiovese grapes with warm but not excessively hot temperatures during the day (never above 35°C) and cool at night. These significant diurnal temperature ranges favoured a slow continual maturation and especially resulted in a thick skin with great quantities of polyphenols.
From budbreak to harvest, there was about 450mm of rainfall, an ideal amount considering that about 40mm fell in the month of September 15 days before the harvest, which is by no means a negligible amount but which in no way affected the quality of the grapes because of its very resistant skin and because the rainfall was immediately followed by winds from the north/north-east. The rainfall on September 18 essentially washed the grapes so that they would then come into the cellar in perfect condition.
The total amount of rainfall from the beginning of the year until the harvest was just under 700mm, optimal conditions for a great vintage.
The temperature analysis is interesting as it is characterised by two main factors:
- In the 2016 vintage, the heat sum index during the vegetative period of the vines until the harvest reached an optimal level for Sangiovese in Montalcino at 2300-2500 degrees on the Huglin Index, which guaranteed a perfect polyphenolic maturation giving the wines great structure and depth.
- The Fregoni Index, the sum of the difference between the maximum daytime temperature and the minimum nighttime temperature during the 30 days before the harvest, reached very high levels. This index shows the diurnal temperature ranges in the month before the harvest, fundamental conditions which gave the 2016 wines a strong aromatic expressivity, maintaining the acidity levels, both important factors that guarantee greater longevity in the wine.
In summary, there were three fundamental types of climactic conditions which took place at the same time and at the most favorable time which ensured a great vintage
- Perfect insolation (2300-2500 Huglin Index)
- Optimal total amount of rainfall, at the most opportune times for the vines and in a regular way during its vegetative phase (650-700mm – only 450mm during the vegetative phase)
- Significant diurnal temperature ranges throughout the entire vegetative phase, accentuated in the 30 days before the harvest (490-500 Fregoni Index)
All vineyards were harvested in a short period of time from September 27 to October 5, another piece of data which shows perfect regularity in the maturation.