One month on from the Pre-Harvest Review, the Harvest in Friuli is all but concluded.
Those who were, or still are, holding on for a late harvest will have to contend with the aftermath of a September that saw in excess of 400mm of ‘RAIN’.
We recall vividly, that balmy late August eve at the Assoenologi gathering in Aquilieia, when ‘bel tempo’ was predicted to run for the next few weeks. The happiness was palpable. Yet within days ominous clouds were forming. It was as though Nature took umbrage with Man’s self-assuredness, dealing it’s most decisive blow of the already event filled 2017 vintage… RAIN during the open HARVEST window.
For those in Friuli who had escaped the earlier trials of April/Frost, June/Hail and August/Wind, the rain came as a fate-filled reminder that “it ain’t ever over ’til it’s over”. And so it was that the proverbial wet blanket was draped region wide.
Pre-harvest, it was already estimated the vintage would be 30% down. Factor in September rains, it’s so far anyone’s guess. In France you may have heard talk of their harvest being the smallest since 1945. Yep, #V17 in northern Europe has marked its place in the history books.
The murmurings from the yard in Friuli are mixed, to say the least. Those who could pick, did so earlier than desired. They reflect on getting the best out of the healthy fruit which had been maturing nicely up to end of August. Had there just been a few more rays, had those grey skies and thunderous rains not fashioned to spoil the vintage parade, full ripeness for all would most likely have been assured.
If’s, But’s and Maybe’s… it is what it is.
While the general sentiment is far from uplifting, it’s not all downbeat. On the upside, you learn more through difficulty. How’s that for positivity. What will be interesting to see and understand is how the myriad of Friuli’s hillside micro-climates will have fared, particularly in the Colli Orientali & Collio. We played witness to a handful of the relieved ‘UPS’ and some heartbroken ‘DOWNS’. It will doubtless be a curious discovery during the next 8-12 months, when the first young whites begin to make their way to the trade fairs. The reds, which appear not to have suffered ‘as much’, will naturally be somewhat later. Something still to play for.
Forget the mistakes, just remember the lessons. The lesson being, never again let ourselves second guess the predictability of Mother Nature.
Afterall, it is SHE who spins the discs on the Seasonal Turntables :)
And when she says DANCE baby… :)
At this point, we seek comfort and solace from CCR!