Budbreak 2013: Montalcino terroir in action

by Laura Gray on April 15, 2013

Our three vineyards are separated by a total of 15 km (9 miles) and have different elevation, soil composition, vine-age and exposition. These photographs were all taken on a gloomy afternoon on 11 April 2013. Same day, same clone of Sangiovese… At Le Due Porte, where our cellar is, the fuzzy nubs of the new leaves are just visible whereas at our Castelnuovo dell’Abate vineyards, significantly lower in altitude and south/south west facing we are at least a week ahead, close to full sfarfallamento. I have written about this before (and here) but these tangible examples of terroir always astound me. The debate about officially recognising Montalcino’s subzones continues but for anyone visiting Montalcino their existence is more than evident.

Budbreak is later for us this year than recent years (at Le Due Porte it was on 22nd March in 2012 and on 1st April in 2011) but actually the timing this year is what was once considered normal. Of course, there is no actual correlation between budbreak and harvest date; this is just the starting pistol for a long race and it’s anybody’s bet whether 2013 will resemble the tortoise or the hare. In fact in the four days since I took the pictures, la natura has started to recover lost time. Spring has finally made a grand entrance, after a first trimester with twice as much rainfall than usual. Temperatures have jumped 10° C in a matter of days. We are now luxuriating in 25°C (77° F) during the day with blue blue skies. Minimum temperatures have also more than doubled. Our winter clothes have been relegated to boxes, the irises are peeking out of their purple sheaths and Tuscany is looking good.

April 2013


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