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Home Sweet Home

Posted: Sep 5, 2006 5:34pm ET

I'm back at home after a couple of weeks on the road. I was happy my two dogs, Archie and Annie, still remembered me. The cat, Monty, was meowing at my door at 6 a.m. for food. I guess my local restaurant wasn’t throwing him tidbits.

I spent the day catching up on e-mails and trying to finish a column, as well as tasting 30 reds and 10 whites from Piedmont. When I am in the office, I taste every morning at about 11 a.m. It’s always blind and well organized. I tasted a number of 2002 Barolos, and I have to wonder why some producers even bottled their wines. It was a washout for many. The best that I tasted today are for early drinking.

Summer already feels gone, and I am thinking of a busy autumn ahead. The weather here is hot. There’s a warm wind blowing through Tuscany. The afternoon temperatures were in the high 80s and the night in the low 70s. I spoke to a couple of Tuscan wine producers, and they sound very excited about the harvest. One was going to start picking his Merlots from young vines tomorrow. He said that the hot weather in the last week had made the vines drastically accelerate their growth and fruit maturation. “We have gained in a week what normally takes two or three weeks,” he said. “Thank God. The weather was not very good this August.”

In fact, some producers from Bordeaux were saying the same thing, although the weather has not been as good for them as in Tuscany. One said that vintners are hoping to make wines as good as 2004 this year, but they were not sure yet.

I am going to check with a few people tomorrow over the phone.

So the rest of the night here in Tuscany is going to be spent unpacking, paying bills, calling family and friends and catching up on lost sleep.

Dick Stapleton
September 5, 2006 7:39pm ET
What do you think the effect of Galloni joining TWA will be? Up until now his Piedmont report was about the only game in town that reviewed Italian wines in ny format other than you. TWA had Italian reviews that were to far adn few between.
James Suckling
 —  September 6, 2006 2:09am ET
I think that the Italian coverage will improve. It's always been pretty weak. Even Bob only went to Piedmont. He never visited anywhere south of there. I met Galloni once. He seemed like a nice guy. Good luck to him.
Guus Hateboer
Netherlands —  September 6, 2006 3:29am ET
I spend August in Tuscany this year and visited Il Borro early that month, accompanied with two Korean girlfriends and two bottles of Latour 1990 and ...I just missed you James, while you were speeding away in your black sportscar. Too bad! Maybe next year, or whenever. Anyway, I was in Tuscany also in 2002 and now I saw the amazing difference with that pretty bad vintage (so many rotten grapes back then). Now the fruit looked very healthy. Hopefully the weather will remain as good as it has been over the last month. Long live the wines from Bella Toscana!
Albert Jochems
The Netherlands —  September 6, 2006 7:40am ET

As a wise (Tuscan) winemaker reminded me a few weeks ago "I can only say something about the quality of this years harvest when I have finished picking the grapes.....".

A familiar scene, catching up with office stuff. I suppose we all envy you that its tasting, instead of piles of paper and meetings.Luckily not for me this summer. Two months holiday inbetween jobs. In terms of relaxing and enjoying wine the 2006 summer was the the best vintage ever....

James Suckling
 —  September 6, 2006 11:01am ET
Gus. Were you really in Borro?
William Clay
Atlanta, Georgia —  September 6, 2006 11:53am ET
What a job! I'll trade with you anytime..:)
James B Seder
newton, ma —  September 6, 2006 12:02pm ET
Spoke to a wine distributor a few days ago re: 2006 Bordeaux vintage. He shared with me that he has heard(from whom?)that the 2006 grapes about to be harvested are as high quality in sugar content and alcohol as the 2005's. Any comments or feedback???Jim
James Suckling
 —  September 6, 2006 1:59pm ET
That's not what I heard. I am going in a week and I will tell you all!
Guus Hateboer
Netherlands —  September 6, 2006 4:45pm ET
Sure was! 1st of August, you passed me in the car. Took a look around in the restaurant you're always talking about and walked around the little village. Pretty place! After that I visited Petrolo and bought some Torrione 2003 and a Vin Santo 1998 (which I really liked!). Also visited Avignonesi. We (not the Korean girlfriends, but me and the family) stayed between Arezzo and Cortona. Bought myself about 40 bottles of wine (a lot of them solely based on WS and WA notes), di Cecco pasta, pasta sauce and cantuccini to have with the vin santo. I lived in Italy for a couple of years and just can't get enough of it. Italia governa!
James Suckling
 —  September 6, 2006 4:50pm ET
Knock on the door of the office next time and say hi. Sounds like you stocked up well!
Guus Hateboer
Netherlands —  September 7, 2006 3:16am ET
I will, and yeah, I'm pretty happy with the wines I found (and with the food, but I'm running out quickly...).
Al Larson
San Carlos,CA —  September 11, 2006 1:29am ET
Hi James,Like you I have a passion for Brunello, Bordeaux, Burgundy/California Pino's (still learning and having fun) but unfamilir with Barolo. Any advice on how to get started and a few bottles to try.Ciao,

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