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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 212, December 2021   
Vintage 2021: First Impressions After HarvestingVintage 2021: First Impressions After Harvesting  Contents 
Issue 211, November 2021 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 213, January 2022

Vintage 2021: First Impressions After Harvesting


 Harvest 2021 has now been completed for weeks all over Italy, the grapes have finally become wine, the producers are drawing conclusions about the harvest and formulate the first impressions about the new wine. In fact, at this moment, thanks to the certainty of what has been brought to the winery – therefore with reliable and concrete information – the producers have now very clear ideas about the wines they are making with the grapes harvested in the past weeks. The forecasts released last summer for harvest 2021 – which anticipated a good vintage, with a decrease in quantity but of high quality – seem to be confirmed by the producers according to the evaluation of what they brought to the winery. Everywhere in Italy, in general terms, there is a decrease in the quantity of grapes harvested, however everyone agrees on the quality, considered very good, probably among the best ones in recent years.


 

 Italian producers seem to all agree that what they have harvested from their vineyards is of high quality, a condition that has been reported in every region of Italy. The consequence – all too obvious – is to also have high quality wines, assuming no wine making disgrace is going to happen in the winery. It must in fact be said making great wines from grapes of very high quality is relatively simple, making great wines from mediocre grapes is always the result of high enological skills and expertise. Transforming the good into something excellent is obviously a result that can be obtained without any effort and with a minimum of enological “diligence”, while you need to work very hard in order to obtain a low quality wine from the same grapes. An operation which, unfortunately, is not so unusual as it happens quite often to have in the glass – and, therefore, to taste – wines from vintages considered excellent and affected by quite embarrassing faults. In this case, all too obvious, the fault is not the grape, much less the vineyard, the territory or the climate, indeed it is the obvious result of the bad job done by the producer.

 Vintage 2021 did not start – many will remember this – with the best of wishes. From a meteorological point of view, in fact, in the last spring there had happened decidedly disastrous events which suggested an uncertain course of the season. In fact, in April, many vineyards in Italy were damaged by dire frosts, right in the crucial moment in which the vine began to produce new shoots. A decidedly negative event that jeopardized the good hopes for harvest 2021, as the frost inevitably and literally “burned” the young and new shoots. Those who survived had to face the infernal temperatures of the summer as well as the scarcity of rains, thus complicating the vegetative cycle of the vines, certainly of the younger ones and having not very developed root systems. The older vines, with more developed root systems in the depths of the soil, have partially benefited from the underground water reserves.

 In short, at the end of August, the producers showed some concern for the fate of the harvest which, shortly afterwards, would begin with the harvesting of the bunches. Then came September and, fortunately, the situation changed and, with it, the forecasts as well. The rains of September have in fact contributed in a decisive way to the positive trend of the conclusion of the ripening of the grapes, finally capable of quenching their thirst. Of course, these rains did not remedy the damage caused by the April frosts, but they certainly were decisive for the ripening of the bunches born from the surviving shoots. And it was thanks to these rains that today we can talk about a high quality harvest, despite the drop in quantity. If we consider the estimates that had been made during the summer, in which good quality and a significant decrease in terms of quantity were expected, we can only be happy that those forecasts have been proven wrong, and now turned out to be positive from the real evaluation of what was brought to the winery.

 Everywhere in Italy there is the satisfaction of producers for the wines they have produced with the grapes of this vintage; many do not hesitate to define 2021 as one of the best in recent years. The grapes harvested in the vineyards of Italy – from north to south – were sound and perfect for the harvest, that is, in the best condition possible to obtain high quality wines. The excellent premises of the vineyard were then transformed into certainties when the grapes arrived in the winery. The analysis of the must has in fact made it possible to find out the excellent balance between acidity and sugar content, a highly positive premise for obtaining equally balanced wines. Apparently – and, at this point, with absolute certainty – the wines of the 2021 vintage, after having run the risk of a quite severe and nefarious weather trends, will give us wonderful satisfactions in the glasses. News, there is no doubt, which gives us great pleasure, imagining – not least – the relief of the producers who, having positively passed the uncertainty of the summer conditions, they can now be assured and face with optimism the end of the enological procedures that will terminate with bottling.

 Of course, this is good news we welcome with enthusiasm while looking forward to having 2021 wines in the glasses, the supreme and final condition for assessing the real enological quality. If we consider the difficulties the world of wine has suffered as a result of the pandemic and which also have changed our habits, including consumption, the high quality forecast of the 2021 vintage represents, not least, a new starting point for the Italian wine. The producers' forecast for the 2021 vintage is largely optimistic for each and every style of wine. From whites to reds, from sparkling to dessert wines, the producers all agree in defining 2021 as a “vintage to remember”. Excellent wines, therefore, even if in smaller quantities, under the reassuring wisdom of the famous saying “little but good”. Certainly a relative and minor satisfaction, however extremely positive, if we consider the pessimistic premises of last summer regarding the 2021 vintage.

 The optimistic and present forecast for 2021 vintage are, not least, an economic advantage as better quality could ensure higher profits. Although this is a risky choice – we must in fact remember the bad sales results of 2020 in addition to the general economic availability of consumers – excessively increasing prices would be counterproductive. In any case, this good news anticipates the satisfaction of being able to pour the wines of the 2021 vintage into the glasses, something that will occur in the first months of next year, in regard for ready-to-drink white and red wines, towards the end of summer for those destined to tell their quality in the years to come. For long aged reds and classic method sparkling wines, on the other hand, we will at least have to wait until 2023. In any case, we will have more than one good, very good reason to make a toast to the 2021 vintage. With the hope it can represent – with its wines – the beginning of a new and beautiful future for everyone.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 212, December 2021   
Vintage 2021: First Impressions After HarvestingVintage 2021: First Impressions After Harvesting  Contents 
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