The weather trend in the Montepulciano area and the rest of Tuscany during 2001 can only be described as bizarre - though it seems to have led to a vintage year of a high standard. The year was characterised by abrupt c1imatic changes, from apparently inc1emem weather to the exact opposite.
At the beginning of 2001 (late January to early March) the mild temperatures led to early enlargement of the buds.
In mid-April the sudden lowering of the temperatures caused some buds to be frozen especially in the valleys - thus reducing the load of grapes per plant by 5-10%.
The remaining months showed average temperatures and humidity, and caused no particular cryptogamic problems.
The July and August temperatures were not particularly high and despite the lack of rain the grapes did not become dehydrated, and the potential alcoholleve1s were balanced.
Summary of phenological stages
19th March - Buds begin to enlarge
26th March - Bud breaking begins
25th May - Flowering
4th June - Fruit-setting begins
25th July - Fruit-colouring begins
18th August - Fruit-colouring ends
In early September the rain and lower temperatures slowed down the ripening of the grapes, though this began again after mid September thanks to an improvement in the weather conditions, with little rain and plenty of sun. In October the temperatures were above the seasonal average. It is no coincidence that the best results were obtained - at least for late varieties like the Sangiovese - with grapes harvested after 10th October.
These favourable weather conditions sidestepped the situation expected in early September, allowing the Sangiovese grapes to ripen well with a total acidity (5-5.35 g/l) and pH (3.3-3.55) well within the average, and balanced alcohol content.
Turning to the polyphenolic compounds, the previews from sampling were confirmed in full. In the 2001 harvest, the Sangiovese grapes were particularly rich in polyphenolic compounds, and even more surprisingly, these were highly extractable - at the end of fermentation, the anthocyans extracted were definire1y higher than the 2000 harvest.
The first tastings of the 200l vintage indicate its potential: the wines express good complex fruity sensations which give plenty of breadth and roundness on the palate, alongside unique elegance - but of course, this is a Nobile!