Wine Harvest Report 2016: Piedmont Starts Late but Ends Strong

An ideal summer in Barolo and Barbaresco made vintners happy
Wine Harvest Report 2016: Piedmont Starts Late but Ends Strong
Warm days and cool nights ripened Nebbiolo throughout the Langhe. (Courtesy G.D. Vajra)
Dec 1, 2016

Unlike other parts of Italy and northern Europe, the 2016 growing season in Piedmont was mostly dry and warm, with enough rain at the right times and ideal conditions for the region’s most important grape, Nebbiolo. Some vintners are comparing it to 2004, others to 2001, both excellent vintages.

Late spring brought cooler-than-usual temperatures, especially at night. This delayed the vegetative cycle and the flowering was two weeks later, resulting in a later-than-average harvest.

Overall, conditions were dry, but there was no drought pressure like in 2007 or 2003, and peak temperatures during the summer months did not spike as they did in 2015 or 2005, according to Giovanni Pasquero Elia, proprietor of Paitin in Neive. “All the grape [varieties] seem more consistent in quality than 2015, with less alcohol and better acidity,” he noted. “It reminds me of 1982, my first harvest.”

Along with the high quality, the quantity was average to slightly higher. Pietro Ratti of Renato Ratti reported about 10 percent higher yields than normal, despite a violent storm on July 26 that unleashed strong winds and hail. Because of the storm, some producers harvested slightly less fruit than average, by as much as 10 percent.

The hail touched a wide area, affecting the lower parts of Castiglione Falletto, Bussia in Monforte, parts of Cannubi, Brunate and Rocche dell’Annunziata in Barolo and La Morra, before passing through Verduno. There was also extensive damage in parts of Monferrato, particularly Nizza. However, Ratti said that in his Costigliole vineyards a few miles away it didn’t even rain.

The weather leading up to the harvest was ideal, with sun and the good temperature swings between day and night that are so important for the development of Nebbiolo’s aromas. Whites were picked beginning Sept. 5, with the reds following, beginning with Dolcetto and Barbera. Picking of Nebbiolo began during the last week of September and continued through the third week of October.

“Nebbiolo arrived at a good level of sugar quite soon, but the phenolic maturation wasn't there yet, the skins very strong and the taste of the berries still green, so we waited for another two weeks before their harvest,” said Claudia Cigliuti, who makes the wines at her family’s winery in Barbaresco. “We picked the Nebbiolos from the 3rd to the 8th of October.”

Now that fermentations are complete, winemakers report that the wines are aromatic, well-balanced and the Nebbiolo in particular appears well-structured for aging.

More Harvest Report 2016

See More

Wine Harvest Report 2016: A Record-Breaking Haul Has Washington Vintners in Good Spirits

Dec 9, 2016

Wine Harvest Report 2016: A Year of Challenges and Rewards in the Rhône Valley

Nov 22, 2016

Wine Harvest Report 2016: Burgundy’s Frost and Hail Produced High Quality and Low Quantities

Nov 21, 2016

Wine Harvest Report 2016: Napa Valley's Cabernet Run Continues

Nov 11, 2016

Wine Harvest Report 2016: Tuscany Enjoys a Promising Year

Nov 10, 2016

Harvest Italy Piedmont Harvest Report 2016 News

You Might Also Like

Douro Deal: Portugal's Quinta do Noval Buys Neighboring Wine Estate Quinta do Passadouro

Douro Deal: Portugal's Quinta do Noval Buys Neighboring Wine Estate Quinta do Passadouro

Noval's parent company, AXA Millésimes, gains 89 acres and will keep the estate a separate …

Aug 23, 2019
Can Anyone Stop the Sticky, Sap-Sucking Invader Attacking American Vineyards?

Can Anyone Stop the Sticky, Sap-Sucking Invader Attacking American Vineyards?

Native to China, the spotted lanternfly is killing vines on the East Coast and is spreading

Aug 21, 2019
Wine Shipping Watch: Florida Opens Door to Out-of-State Retailer Shipping

Wine Shipping Watch: Florida Opens Door to Out-of-State Retailer Shipping

Plus, Connecticut passed legislation to allow direct shipping; seven other states face …

Aug 19, 2019
Could the Wine Compound Resveratrol Help Manage Depression?

Could the Wine Compound Resveratrol Help Manage Depression?

A new study suggests the heralded polyphenol found in red wine may help your brain ward off …

Aug 15, 2019
Stephen Starr Debuts Restaurant in Hudson Yards

Stephen Starr Debuts Restaurant in Hudson Yards

Plus, chef Amy Brandwein opens a new spot in D.C., Ristorante Morini closes, and more

Aug 15, 2019
The 2019 New York Wine Experience: Gathering for the Good Life

The 2019 New York Wine Experience: Gathering for the Good Life

The October event will feature two days of seminars featuring great bottlings and compellin…

Aug 12, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search