Spring weather patterns were characterized by normal temperatures for the period and by slightly heavier precipitations than those of recent years. Significant April rains forced growers to intensify spraying in the vineyards in order to keep major vine diseases such as downy and powdery mildew under control.
August was characterized by intense heat and minimal rainfall and a resulting dehydration of the grapes, an intensification of sugar concentration and potential alcohol to levels well above the seasonal average.
Early September rains gave a better balance to the grapes and allowed the normal processes of photosynthesis and phenolic maturation to go forward under conditions of excellent heat and luminosity for the rest of the month.
Scattered precipitations during the first half of the month of October had little effect on the final stages of ripening, and the harvest was carried out under qui te normal conditions.
Summary of phenological stages
- March 20: "bleeding" of the vines
- April 1: initial bud swell
- April l0: bud break
- May 20: flowering
- June 5: fruit set
- July 20: initial phases of the color change ( veraison)
- August 5: final phases of the color change (veraison)
The harvest of early-maturing grapes varieties was considerably in advance of the normal date as a direct result of the weather patterns of the growing season described above, while picking of later-maturing varieties such as Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) and Cabernet Sauvignon began on September 20th and continued for approximately three weeks.
In analytical terms, the Sangiovese grapes showed good levels of potential alcohol and total acidity, a normal pH, and an elevated polyphenolic count when the harvest began; total anthocyanins were adeguate, though the coloring material appeared to be relatively easy to extract.
The wines which were obtained were well above average both in terms of polyphenols and of anthocyanins, though slightly lower than those of the finest vintages.
The wines, when first tasted, were intensely fruity, balanced, and long on the palate.