Agronomist and enologist Gianmario Cerutti tells us about the 2016 harvest, which promises excellent results
The last grapes of barbera and nebbiolo have been gathered and the wine cellars are busy with fermenting and racking. Some wines are already ready for fining, while others are still transforming, ready to be served at the tables of wine lovers in the coming years.
But how did the 2016 harvest go? And what is the outlook for the wines that will come from it? We asked Gianmario Cerutti, agronomist and enologist that has followed operations in the vineyard and cellars for many years at Casa Coppo.
Gianmario, can you give us an overview of the year?
This year was overall good. In general, we can say that the results are excellent for all varieties. A cool and rainy spring was mitigated with a hot summer without too much precipitation, and a consistent vegetative development gave us mature grapes with overall good quality—healthy and abundant. I’d say that all in all the weather was good, except of course for the times that nature let herself be known…during the hailstorms, for example.
How was the climate?
For most of the year, I would say optimal. It was perfect during the days of harvest, which is usually the most critical time. The dry climate let us manage the vineyards with a light hand, when it came to interventions.
Some people talked about drought…
Summer was hot, it’s true, but the sun wasn’t too aggressive. There was maybe some water shortage near the end of August, but the rains during the first part of September gave life to the vines again. Barbera more than any other grape profited from the rains, because they took another two weeks to perfectly ripen.
Would you describe this harvest as balanced?
Exactly. The analysis of the grapes and the confirmation from the cellars show us that the grapes and must are extremely balanced in acidity and sugar level. It’s ideal for sparkling wines, for Chardonnay, and even excellent for Barbera, which I predict will be great.
Anything that didn’t go so well?
The only real difficulty was in July with the hailstorms in the zone of Agliano and between Castelnuovo Calcea and Nizza Monferrato. But fortunately, only some of vines were seriously hit. The problem with hail, other than its damage to the quality and quantity of grapes for that year, is that if it’s an intense hailstorm, it can even affect production in the next year. Strong hailstorms provoke bad wounds on the woody parts of the vines, and if they’re not well-managed they can cause serious problems. We will monitor the situation vineyard by vineyard, and if need be, we will target the cases that need fertilizer and give the vines natural substances during spring or autumn that help vines if they’re having a hard time. But overall, we will be attentive and gentle with the pruning and only with the healthy shoots that lignified well, so that we can manage the vines for the next budding and help them reclaim their full vigor, if need be.
What type of Barbera can we look forward to?
From the first fermentations, we noticed that the Barbera is balanced in aromas and in characteristic fruitiness. The optimal ripening gave it soft tannins and a good grade of alcohol. A perfect extraction of color, but overall, a good balance of components that make a Barbera enjoyable at its early stages, yet with definite potential to age well and develop with elegance. We just have to wait for the results, which will surely be exciting!