To be a winemaker means to live at the whims of nature. Each growing season presents its own set of challenges and triumphs and it is up to the winemaking team to make of the most of the growing season. With the 2015 Barolos ready to be released to the market and the 2018 harvest recently completed now is the ideal time for a vintage comparison.
The 2015 Vintage
A wet winter led into a warmer than normal summer. The growing season started early but stayed on track for most of the summer with late rains in August helping to temper the heat and prevent stress on the vines. Harvest was earlier than normal for most wineries.
Nick Stock of Jamessuckling.com has said: “The full capability of the nebbiolo grape’s expressive nature is alive in Barolo 2015 and it is a vintage to really celebrate. In general, the wines are exuberantly fragrant and show fresh clear fruit on the nose with abundant aromatic complexity.”
Antonio Galloni of Vinous commented: “Two thousand fifteen is not an easy vintage to break down into simple generalizations. In that sense, 2015 reminds me a bit of 2012, a year in which both the personality and quality of the wines are quite varied.”
The 2018 Vintage
The vines were able to rest over the winter season, which was cold but still warmer than usual and quite wet. Bud break and flowering occurred as expected, but the fertility of the vines was higher than usual, resulting in many compact grape clusters with large berries, rich in must. Some vineyards needed to employ thinning in order to reduce the numbers. The 2018 summer was humid, with many storms and some hail, but overall, it was uneventful. Quantity should be higher with many points of excellence across the region.
While there has not yet been much commentary from the press on the 2018 growing season Fabio Fantino, from Conterno Fantino, was able to give a side-by-side comparison of the 2015 and 2018 harvests.
To learn more about Conterno Fantino winery click here.