(Montalcino, August 30) The harvest at Castello Banfi began on August 20, reported family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May, with Chardonnay, followed by Sauvignon Blanc and then Pinot Grigio, all still in the process of being picked. The winter and spring temperatures were warmer than average for the period, she said, and credited the lack of rainfall for the vines’ early budding and leaf growth which continued through to the harvest, starting about 10 days earlier than last year.
“Summer rainfalls were favorable,” said Ms. Mariani-May, reporting that up to late May/early June rainfall was about 100 mm (4 inches), and over 30 to 50 mm (1 to 2 inches) more fell by mid August. “Thanks to these reserves, the red varieties have had no problems even with the recent high temperatures. If the weather continues to remain favorably dry with average seasonal temperatures, the red varieties like Syrah, Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon will achieve outstanding quality levels. We have good prospects for an excellent vintage.”
The quantity of white grapes, according to Ms. Mariani-May, looks at this point to be at 95% of the 2006 levels, but of comparable quality.