2013 vintage signalled that it was to be an ‘old-style’ late harvest with an unusual and challenging spring.
The unexpectedly large amount of rainfall between March and May made impossible for much of the time to access the vineyards with tractors in order to spray copper. This promoted the spread of infections and mildew. Organic growers (who are not alloweded to use systemic chemicals which have a long life and are not washed away by rain), particularly saw between 25 and 75 percent fewer shoots during flowering due to mildew, with a significan loss of the crop.
Summer was cooler than that of previous years and was characterised by a benevolent and notable change in day to night temperatures, which did not however accelerate the late vegetative cycle due to the humid and rainy spring. Producers who were less exposed to infections and mildew carried out a green harvest more or less as normal, whereas the reality for organic producers like us was that the fungal attacks had already significantly reduced crop’s size. In these cases, producers preferred to avoid to further reduce the production and did not carry out the green harvest.
During August and September, the prospects for the harvest started to look very good, notwithstanding that the season was 2 to 3 weeks later than previous years. The 2013 harvest for white grapes and those destined for sparkling wines was very good indeed. Unfortunately, the rain at the end of August and in September, in particular, changed the outlook considerably for black grapes: the large amount of groundwater led to a swelling of the grapes. In some cases this led to the grape skins bursting, resulting in both outbreaks of mould and some rotting of the grapes, as well as a reduction in the overall sugar and concentration levels of the juice.
In May, the 2013 vintage looked to be a small harvest in terms of quantity. However it slowly became quite abundant (especially considering the size of the bunches), with very uneven levels of ripeness in terms of both sugars and phenolics. October rains meant more even and complete maturation would not be possible without a prolonged period of sun and heat. In our opinion,the 2013 vintage was one of the vineyard, whereby the exposure of the vineyard (South and South-West in particular) really demonstrated the difference between the great vineyards and those less favoured. The best Crus reached good levels of maturity and consistency, while others were marked by noticeable acidity and uneven tannin maturity.
This certainly happened for Trediberri’s Barolo 2013 vintage, with the grapes we picked at Rocche dell’Annunziata being truly exceptional (and picked relatively early on 10th October). Those at Berri and Capalot, however, which go into our classic Barolo blend, required very careful selection and several passes in the vineyards in order to pick only ripe fruit, despite being picked later between 18th and 27th October.