Today is roughly the mid-way point of my 3 month stay in Italia. To this point, I’ve spent the majority of my time in Chianti Classico zone, though I’ve had 3-14 day visits in Langhe, Umbria, Lazio, and even a brief moment in Liguria (to help celebrate a fellow board member’s nuptials).
Having met with producers (from San Casciano in Val di Pesa to Gaiole) whom I’ve known for the better part of the past decade, or more, and whom I trust, and value their opinions, it’s pretty clear that this vintage is one the most successful in Chianti Classico in at least a quarter century, maybe even the most - their words, not mine - and this is from people that don’t practice hyperbole, merely in acknowledging the gifts that nature sometimes bestows.
Perhaps a part of their vintage sentiment rests on the fact that there’s also a lot to sell, which may be as (more?) important to many (all?) growers, so I take this as but one data point; I will follow this vintage with interest in the coming months and years until it’s released, and beyond.
This vintage, both in Classico zone, and also in Montalcino zone is characterized by superb/ideal growing conditions AND significant quantity. EVOO quality is a mixed bag - near Montecucco, superb, in Chianti Classico, the flies posed a big problem; Umbria’s olives seemed quite good this year, too.
The vintage was so successful in Umbria that Giampiero Bea needed a lot of extra space to receive, and process all of the fruit - so much so that they were busy cleaning older botti that hadn’t been used in years simply because there was nowhere else to put the young wine.
Quality, and quantity are high - I’m happy for all of the wine farmers, and I post this in that spirit, not a spirit of hyping the vintage of a lifetime, etc.
FWIW, the mood in Barolo/Barbaresco/Roero was (mostly) positive (I arrived 2 Oct, just as Barbera was being finished, and Nebbiolo was about to be picked). Given 2017’s challenges in the aforementioned zones, this is a nice win for these growers.
Sadly, the weather today here in Greve/Classico is pretty much the exact opposite of what you see below; the forecast here shows one day of sun during the next 10.