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The Rest of Italy: Satisfied After Tough 1998 Vintage

James Suckling
Posted: February 3, 2000

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The Rest of Italy: Satisfied After Tough 1998 Vintage

By James Suckling

Producers in Italian wine regions other than Tuscany and Piedmont are more than satisfied with 1999 on the whole, especially compared with the 1998 harvest, which was much wetter and more difficult.

Southern Italian regions such as Campania, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia have the potential to make good to outstanding quality wines. Although there was some precipitation, the grapes harvested there were very ripe and full of character.

"It [1999] is a very, very interesting year," said Riccardo Cotarella, a consulting enologist for a number of key wine estates in the south, including Feudi di San Gregorio and Montevetrano. "I think it could be better than 1997 and 1998. The wines are very rich, with lots of character."

Cotarella was also happy with the results in areas such as Umbria and Lazio, where he hopes to make very rich and fruity whites and reds from 1999.

The news in the Northeast -- including the Veneto, Friuli and Trentino -- was equally positive. Producers such as Carlos Guerrieri Gonzaga of Tenuta San Leonardo and Elisabetta Foradori of Foradori, two top red winemakers from Trentino, expect 1999 to be very good. "We are very happy with the results," said Foradori. "The wines show very good fruit and structure at this early stage.

Added Guerrieri Gonzaga, "It's a great relief to make something good in 1999, since we didn't make very good wines in 1998." White producers in the Northeast are equally enthusiastic and are hoping to make wines as good as or better than those from the high-quality 1997 vintage.

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