There was heavy rainfall in the months of April and May (about 200mm) and temperatures remained low, particularly the minimum temperatures.
Budbreak, which took place in the second and third week of April in the vineyards around Montepulciano, was therefore followed by a slow and limited development of foliage during these two months.
As has often happened in recent years, spring moved into summer rather abruptly, with a sharp increase in temperatures between the 4th and 5th of June, bringing maximum temperatures to 28-30°C, while the minimum remained above 10 °C.
The vines showed an immediate response to the increase in temperatures, with a rapid acceleration in foliage growth, and the conclusion of the flowering cycle within the next 8-10 days.
Compared to previous years, flowering began about two weeks later and was short-lived, so by the next stage, fruit-setting, the vines had recovered some of the accumulated delay prior to flowering.
June, July and August enjoyed good weather and little significant rainfall (about 100mm overall), but were not very hot: temperatures rarely passed 30°C in June, and were higher than 33-34°C only for a few days in July and August. By contrast the humidity levels remained around 50-70%.
In the first week of August, as veraison began, the foliage growth slowed down and by mid-August had completely halted in many vineyards, creating the required conditions for excellent ripening. Veraison ended around 20th-25th August, lasting only a brief time like flowering, and making up further for the delay incurred earlier in the year.
Temperatures lowered from the end of August and there was a good day-night temperature variation (25-27°C in the day and at night 10-14°C, even 7-8°C!) until the harvest.
Light rain in the middle of September did not cause any botrytis infections nor did it interfere with the ripening process.
Ripening proceeded with the gradual, steady development of analytical parameters and the Sangiovese grapes reached perfect ripeness at the end of September. As a consequence of the rapid flowering and veraison phases, maturation occurred in a uniform fashion in the various vineyards.
The Sangiovese harvest mainly took place between late September and the first ten days of October.
Summary of phenological stages:
Budbreak: middle ten days of April.
Flowering: 5th-14th June.
Veraison: 5th-25th August.
The wines of 2010
At the conclusion of malolactic fermentation the wines show strong colours and intense, subtle aromas, predominantly of red fruit and flowers: the typical features of the Sangiovese grape, like the other varieties, are clear and evident. It is clear in this context that the temperature variation in September played a decisive role. On the palate the wines are well-structured with a mature tannic texture and medium acidity. The levels of alcohol, acidity, dry extract, colour intensity and total polyphenols are medium or medium-high.
To sum up, the wines of 2010 are very interesting with lovely varietal expression and show all the prerequisites for good ageing potential.