2009 began with a cold, very wet winter. During the months of January and February rainfall reached 150mm and temperatures were very low. The slightly above-average minimum and maximum temperatures in the first half of March resulted in enlargement of buds in precocious varieties on shallow, sandy soil.
This slightly early development was halted on 21st March by snow and the consequent sharp fall in temperatures. The “bleeding” phase, consisting of partial recommencement of vine activity with opening of the buds which had already begun in precocious varieties like Colorino and Merlot, thus stopped due to this variation in the weather conditions.
The temperatures in April were quite high with an average of 12°C minimum and 19°C maximum: this created ideal conditions for budbreak which took place in all the varieties in the first ten days of Aril, including Sangiovese. The hot weather in May (with peaks of 30-35°C) following the regular rainfall in the preceding months accelerated the development of foliage (about ten days earlier than average) enabling flowering to be complete by about 29th May.
The lush foliage on the plants made it necessary for winegrowers to intervene with shoot thinning and fungicide treatments which easily warded off the most common fungal diseases.
At the end of May some areas experienced slight stress from lack of water and slowing in foliage development, especially on shallow, sandy soil, which was principally caused by the unusually high seasonal temperatures and consequent drought.
The heavy rainfall and lower temperatures in early June created suitable conditions for an excellent recovery of foliage development. During this month rain plays a very important role in the formation of the fruit. The 120mm of rainfall caused the grapes to swell with a sharp and substantial increase in average weight.
The months of July and August showed an almost total absence of rain and above average temperatures for this period, slowing down the slightly early foliage development. Veraison began in July and ended around the 15th August.
Ripening developed gradually and evenly with a good accumulation of sugar and polyphenols, also aided by the warm September weather with sporadic rainfall. These conditions facilitated the harvest which took place, for Sangiovese, in the last week of September and the first week of October.
Summary of phenological stages
Budbreak: first two weeks of April
Flowering: 21st-31st May
Veraison: 25th July-2th August
The 2009 wines
The Sangiovese grapes reached excellent levels of ripeness in terms of colour extraction and elimination of grassy aromas starting from the last ten days of September, when the sugar content reached medium-high levels and acidity was medium or medium-low.
This trend continued in the days to follow so that the wines obtained showed a high alcohol level, medium acidity after malolactic fermentation and generally medium pH. The polyphenol content and colour were also average. These results were further confirmed by tasting the wines: not excessively rich in extract, excellent balance in the flavour and interesting aromas. Wines, therefore, whose most significant features will be freshness, balance and elegance.