"Normal" years like 2000 and 2001 are just a memory now: we have become used to "abnormal" years - excessively rainy, like 2002, or hot and dry like 2003, or constantly cloudy and coollike 2004. 2005 was neither "normal" nor "abnormal", but strange and unpredictable, and as such was both satisfactory and very disappointing.
In late March the long snowy winter gave way to spring: in just a matter of days temperatures suddenly rose and budbreak began in April.
May was dry and warm which encouraged an explosion of foliage and rapid lengthening of the buds, immediately followed by flowering. Ali the vineyards were in full flower by early June.
June was nice and warm, with occasional showers, so the buds and grapes grew normally. July, too, had both hot days and occasional short showers of rain. At the end of July when veraison began (the first phase of ripening, when the grapes change colour) the weather suddenly changed. August was a mixture of sunny and very rainy days, which varied greatly from one area to the
next: in fact in some areas it did not rain at all creating a paradoxical situation whereby some vineyards suffered from drought and in others the rain slowed down the ripening process.
But despite the worryingly unpredictable weather, tests carried out on the grapes on September 1st yielded reassuringly similar results to 10th September 2004 - the ripening process was therefore about ten days ahead of the previous year. In mid-September when the Merlot harvest was being planned, the anxiety began: the weather changed again and it poured with rain repeatedly, which abruptly halted the ripening process and the vineyards affected by the rain lost the "advantage" they had gained over 2004. After the storms were over the sun shone until the end of the harvest, but substantial morning mists had caused some cases of grey rot.
So the unpredictable weather in 2005 from budbreak though to the end of the harvest made plenty of leaf- and bunch-thinning necessary as well as strict selection of the grapes both in the vineyard before the harvest and in the cellar.
In conclusion, the quality of the grapes is definitely good, but this required a great deal of effort with a considerable reduction in quantities.
Summary of phenological stages
Bleeding: 25th March - 5th April
Budbreak: 5th - 15th April
Flowering and fruit set: 28th May - 6th June
Veraison: 1st - 15th August
The 2005 wines
The wines of 2005 are generally of good quality with some points of excellence among those from vineyards less affected by the adverse weather conditions. Alcohol content is 13-13.5 % voI. and total acidity 5-6 g/1.
The total polyphenol content is generally good with well-balanced anthocyans and tannins.
The balance of the various components and the generous, elegant range of aromas, indicate that the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2005 will age well.