After four years of ups and downs caused by extreme and opposing weather conditions yielding very diverse wines, the wines of 2006 seem for the moment to be solid, balanced and expressive.
We may be speaking too soon but we feel that 2006 is the best of the last five vintages.
Let's take a more detailed look at the progress in the vineyards during the course of the growing year.
After plenty of rain in autumn and winter, temperatures rose in late March and budbreak took place between 5th and 15th April. Temperatures in Aprii and May favoured steady bud growth and early flowering, which began in the Sangiovese vineyards on 25th - 27th May. During this delicate phenological phase, the temperature dropped sharply on 31st May and remained below average for abour ten days. This drastically slowed the development of foliage and flowering only ended in mid-June when the temperature rose again. From then on until the end of the first week of August the weather was fine with little rain and the vines benefited from the water reserves in the soil, developing abundant foliage.
At the moment of veraison the level of water was low enough to end foliage development. This took place between 5th and 20th August and at this point the vineyards showed two significant requirements for good ripening of the fruit: the buds were no longer growing and the ample leaf surfaces placed photosynthesis at the complete disposal of the ripening bunches of grapes. While the grapes were changing colour in mid-August, the weather was often cloudy and there were some short rain showers.
At the end of August temperatures rose again and 15 beautiful hot days followed with extreme day and night temperature variation which considerably helped accelerate the ripening process and make up for the delay during the flowering stage. The grapes therefore rapidly reached technological maturity (in sugar/acidity ratio).
But it was not yet time to harvest! In mid-September the weather was back to normal for the season, temperatures dro1ìfed and it rained between the 14th and 16t of September. This rain plumped up the grapes that had been withered by the heat of the previous days. Once again there was no cause for worry as this rain rebalanced the composition of the grapes.
However the sporadic morning mists in the next few days were a cause for alarm but fortunately they disappeared after a few days, and favourable weather for ripening returned.
As has often been the case in recent years, the harvest was a race against time: the Sangiovese harvest was postponed as long as possible to allow the best possible phenolic ripening, although it was important to harvest before the autumn rains began. The harvest began around 20th September and ended with the Sangiovese on 10th October.
To conclude, the grapes showed excellent quality: optimum technological and phenological ripeness, fairly small grapes and therefore a good skin to fruit ratio.
The resulting wines show robust structure, high alcohol and polyphenol content and good acidity: at the moment they appear to be very typical with good ageing prospects.
Summary of phenological stages: Bleeding: 25th March - 5th April
Budbreak: 5th -15th April
Flowering and fruit setting: 26th May - 15th June
Veraison: 05 th - 20 th August