The weather in the Langhe
In contrast to the previous year, when ripening was particularly early, 2019 showed a much more normal course. The 2019 agricultural year started slowly with cold temperatures combined with a long-lasting drought and therefore spring came later. April and the following May were then marked by instability, with copious rainfall comparable to that of 2018, but which did not arouse the same fears among winegrowers, despite showing a certain heterogeneity in the development of the vines between the individual vineyards caused.
Rainfall in the vineyards
The rainy months of April and May led to a slow start of vegetation on the one hand, but also to a considerable accumulation of water in the soil, which compensated for the low precipitation during the winter months. The unstable weather conditions with moderate average temperatures lasted throughout May, which delayed the course of vegetation by a good two weeks compared to previous years, but was still in line with a more long-term trend.
Early heat wave followed by stable temperatures
During a phase of very high heat in mid-June and early July, the conditions for rapid growth were created due to the sufficient water availability in the soil. This situation required great care from the winegrowers in order to contain any phytosanitary problems. At the end of July, the second heat wave of the summer appeared, which ended with thunderstorms, which were also strong but not harmful to the vines. The remainder of the summer then proceeded fairly evenly, with well-distributed rainfall and temperatures that were never excessive and only slightly above the 2007-2016 decade averages.
Dangerous hailstorm in the Langhe and Monferrato
However, as is so often the case, it was the final two months of the season that proved crucial and were in turn marked by just as many key events. The first was undoubtedly the violent hailstorm on September 5, which also caused not inconsiderable damage in some areas. In particular, the areas of Serra dei Turchi and Bricco Manescotto in La Morra and even more the areas of Fontanafredda in Serralunga d'Alba and a large part of the municipality of Grinzane Cavour were affected. But overall, most of the zones around Barolo, Barbaresco and Dogliani were spared.
The harvest began around mid-September with the white grape varieties and then continued without interruption with the Dolcetto , the Barbera and finally the Nebbiolo . For all grape varieties and consequently for all denominations, a slight decrease in production was noted in favor of quality and balance. The Dolcetto grapes, mostly harvested around September 17th, make a very good impression in terms of phenols and sugar content. The acid values also indicate wines with potentially high elegance, which is particularly true for the Dogliani area. Due to a summer with hot days in our growing region but normal average temperatures, the Barbera was characterized by excellent phenolic values at the time of harvest, a slightly lower alcohol potential than the previous year and high acidity. Along with Nebbiolo, it is perhaps the grape variety that best expresses the different locations of the vineyards.
The Nebbiolo was harvested in the second half of October and its analytical parameters also show “classic” values, that is, good sugar content and optimal phenolic levels, which guarantee wines with structure and excellent aging potential. In particular, a high content of coloring substances can be noticed, so we expect wines with depth of color, especially considering their genetic characteristics. In conclusion, it can be said that this is a vintage with a traditional character and quality production, albeit with a slight decrease in yield compared to the previous year. One can speak of a good to very good vintage with wines that have a well-present acidity and alcohol levels that are not too high.