The overall rainfall in the first trimester of the year was scarce, in particular during the month of March, and barely sufficient to replenish the ground water reserves. The temperatures, as compared to the average during the same time of year, were lower in January and higher in February and March. The months of April and May were characterised by abundant rainfall and by normal temperatures in April and significantly below-average temperatures in May. Meanwhile, in June it did not rain at all and temperatures were higher than normal. In July and August temperatures remained above average for the season as well, but contrary to that which was recorded in recent years, on very few days did the highest temperature exceed the critical level of 35-36°C. Rainfall during these two months was almost entirely concentrated in two days in July (the 28th and 29th) and in two days in August (the 23rd and 24th), therefore, despite the total mm of rainfall, these two months were characterised by the prevalence of hot and sunny days and by average to low relative humidity. In September temperatures remained within the average for the time of year while rainfall, once again, was concentrated in just three days (between the 22nd and the 24th). In October rainfall was low, but it rained frequently, especially in the second half of the month. The following months of November and December were very rainy and relatively warm. In summary, 2019 alternated between two intensely rainy periods (April-May and November-December, which saw 65% of the total rainfall for the year: 538 mm out of a total of 824 mm) and a prevalently dry period characterised by short and intense rainfall (June-October). On average temperatures were higher than normal, except for in January and May.
Monthly temperatures and precipitation recorded in 2019 in the municipality of Montepulciano
Average high temperature
Average low temperature
Variance in average temperature as compared to the monthly multi-year average
(the = sign indicates a variance of within ± 0,5°C)
|Variance in average monthly precipitation as compared to the multi-year average (↑ greater than +20%; ↓less than -20%; ↔ ± 20%)|
Budding began between the end of March and the beginning of April, however temperatures just slightly above freezing level for grape vines (10°C) during the first two weeks of April considerably extended this phase which ended around 19-20 April. Persistent low temperatures in the following weeks significantly slowed the vegetative activity of the plants which, at the end of May, had shoots which did not exceed 80 cm. As has often happened in recent years, the transition from Spring weather to typically Summer weather was sudden. In fact, between the last day of May and the fist week of June the average temperatures rose from 15°C to over 20°C. The response of the grape vines was rapid: in the span of one week the vegetation changed from pale green to intense green, then started to grow quickly and, immediately after began to blossom. The additional rise in temperature recorded during the second week of June further accelerated the vegetative-growth process, therefore blossoming was rapid and simultaneous in the various vineyards, not only for the Sangiovese, but for other varietals present in the region as well. The rapid blossoming and the strong simultaneous vegetative activity, or perhaps the low temperatures which preceded the blossoming, were probably the cause of the frequent blossom dropping (falling of the flowers) and the millerandage (limited growth of grapes) observed in the bunches. A (positive!) consequence of these phenomenons was the formation of bunches that were less compact than usual. Another distinctive trait of the year was the high fertility of the buds, or rather the frequent presence of two bunches per shoot (there are usually, on average, less than two bunches per shoot). The ready availability of water and the temperatures in June and July caused strong vegetative growth which, initially, was very rapid, then moderate. In fact, the total absence of rain in June and most of July reduced the water reserves and gradually slowed vegetative activity. The progressive lack of water also had the effect of limiting the growth of the grapes (something very important for the production of wines for ageing). At the end of July, when the grape vines began to show the first signs of water stress, a providential rainfall arrived, characterised by torrential downpours, which restored optimal water conditions to the terrain. In the month of August, with the vineyards showing exceptionally uniform and healthy rows of vines, the veraison began which, after the duration of the blossoming, took place in a rather short amount of time. During this period, in some vineyards, it was necessary to reduce the productive load so as to avoid a decline in quality. The following ripening phase enjoyed the sunny days and optimal temperatures of the entire month of September. The rain that feel between the 22nd and 24th of September and during the first days of October, with the grapes perfectly ripe, had no effect on their quality, except for adding to their weight, but it did interfere with the start of the harvest. In fact, the grapes ripened in a short period of time and so it was necessary to harvest them quickly so as to avoid over-ripening and damage due to botrytis. The weather did not favour the outbreak of this renowned and dreaded fungal infection: when the humidity was suitable to the development of the fungus, in April and May, the low temperatures proved to be a limiting factor. However, these conditions favoured an increase in the population of lobesia botrana (the European grape moth) which in certain areas reached levels that caused perceptible damage. For the Sangiovese, the harvest took place primarily between 25 September and 10 October.
Summary of the Primary Phenological Phases
Budding: 29 March – 19 April
Blossoming: 4-14 June
Veraison: 2-23 August.
The wines of 2019 are very interesting and of very high quality. At the analytical level they present excellent intensity and shades of colour, a medium-high alcohol content, a good amount of total polyphenols and of extractive substances, and average acidity and pH. Upon tasting, the wines present intense colours, an excellent aromatic expression of the varietal, concentration, and an exquisite tannic texture.
Giovanni Capuano, January 28th 2020