The year 2017 will be remembered as the earliest of the last decade, as well as the vintage with the lowest yields.
It was characterized by a mild winter, with only a few snowfalls. Spring was marked by above-average temperatures for the season, which facilitated early vegetative development for the vines.
Toward the end of April, a sharp temperature drop – especially overnight – around Italy caused some frost damage. Though only the bottoms of the valleys and cooler slopes were affected in our area. In addition to the frosts, we experienced some hail episodes, which contributed to the lower production
May brought the beginning of a long period of fine weather that lasted until early September, with above average seasonal temperatures, and cooler nights than in other hot years. The weather stabilized, ensuring excellent conditions in terms of plant protection, so we had no particular vineyard management issues.
Between the end of August and the beginning of September, much-needed rain helped to accumulate 25 mm of water, which partly rebalanced the water supply to the grape berries. By this time, veraison was well underway.
In the first week of September, temperatures dropped and growing patterns were nearer the seasonal averages, with considerable differences between day and night temperatures. The polyphenolic profile of red grapes with a medium-long vegetative cycle received the most benefit, such as Nebbiolo and Barbera, for which the data are different from those recorded in other “hot” vintages. In fact, the values observed this year are better in terms of quantity of anthocyanins and tannins and in terms of extraction, an essential factor in aging wines.
With regards to the main components of the wines, it should be noted that although alcohol content is high, they are not above average, especially in Dolcetto and Nebbiolo wines. This is probably because the vine’s metabolic processes were interrupted during the hottest period, which meant that though the harvest was early, values were normal. Furthermore, a good level of pH has been recorded, while lower total acidity can be traced back to a smaller quantity of malic acid, demonstrating the excellent degree of ripening of the grapes.
The result of this unique vintage is a 24 percent drop in production of Italian wine that will exceed just 41.1 million hectoliters, but quality is saved and Italy will still maintain world premiere among producers.