In the early months of 2003 the weather conditions were average for the season and the vines developed vegetation normally.
The sudden fall in temperatures in early April halted the vegetation progress and some of the buds were damaged by frost; although the shoots were unharmed, some of the primordial shoots were affected and the number of bunches per plant was considerably reduced. Early budding varieties were more greatly affected by this, like Sangiovese, which is the basis of Nobile di Montepulciano.
In the later summer months there was absolutely no rain and the temperature was high, about 5-6°C above the seasonal average. Despite the heat the plants reacted well thanks to the natural accumulation of water in the soil, and the phenological phases and growth of vegetation occurred earlier than usual. As a result, cane ripening began in late ]une -early ]uly, instead of August as is usually the case. Veraison also began much earlier than usual, causing a high build-up of sugar in the grapes.
Ripening was then halted by the continuing high temperatures and lack of rain bur all was resolved with rainfall in early September and ripening continued normally.
There were no particular problems of disease, and the grapes were very healthy at the time of picking.
Summary of phenological stages
7th March- enlargement of buds
26th April- budbreak begins
21th May- flowering begins
30th May- fruit set begins
18th ]uly- veraison begins
30th ]uly - veraison ends
The weather conditions described above caused the grapes to ripen very early (with a high alcohol content and low level of total acidity, and above average pH).
Polyphenolic ripening was later, however, making the selection of a harvesting date somewhat complex.
The grapes did not show especially high anthocyan levels when harvested (probably due to the high summer temperatures and scarce temperature variation between day and night) while the total polyphenol content was above average. Tasting of the 2003 wines shows them to be rich in extract with fairly soft tannins and average colour.
The aromas are nicely intense with very evident ripe fruit.