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Allegrini 2018
A TURNING POINT YEAR FOR THE CLIMATE

Barolo 2022, one of the most atypical years, of hard work, resistance, and resilience

The reflection of the historic producers of the Deditus Association on the last harvest in the Langhe. “Quality above expectations”.

“There are two words that identify the 2022 year of Barolo: resistance and resilience”. Words by Luca Sandrone of the Luciano Sandrone winery, perfectly summarize the thoughts of the producers, to describe the last harvest in the Langhe. A year, marked by resilience and climate adaptation, according to the historic Barolo producers of the Deditus Association, who at the end of the harvest and the first fermentations, and at the doors of the winter period of the rest and maturation, gather their consideration regarding 2022 full of worries, but also of surprises, and above all of the reflections for the future.
My father, after nearly 45 harvests, can’t remember a year like this. Especially with such a drought and such early harvest dates” comments Lorenzo Scavino (Azelia), immediately making clear the peculiarity of the year and the complexity that the producers had to face.
A mild and extremely dry winter immediately confronted the producers with the need to carefully evaluate what to do: “it was essential to evaluate the most appropriate agronomic interventions”, explains Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo from Cordero di Montezemolo. “An adequate contribution of organic matter to the soil is essential – underlines Federica Boffa of the historian Pio Cesare – as well as careful management of the greenery of the vineyards,
with the maintenance of the bunches well covered and protected by the leaves, to avoid problems of overheating and burns. We have accentuated the already severe thinning to lighten the plants given the lack of water and the high temperatures (with the last thinning step a few weeks after harvesting)”. The summer season is also atypical, which reflected the general climate change observed with the mild temperatures and the absence of winter rain. “The vast majority of the rainfall occurred in the summer months (with already quite high temperatures, an almost topical climate) through thunderstorms – adds Federica Boffa – it was therefore a question of very intense rains within a few minutes which unfortunately cannot be collected much from the terrain if this is not prepared to accept them (as we did) and that slips away by stream due to the force with which it falls.
The atypical and, in some ways, extreme conditions of the year were also a moment for important evaluations and considerations. “The vine has in fact confirmed itself as a thrifty plant with a great spirit of adaptability. It was able to cope with the stress generated by the climatic conditions and came out strengthened. Today the fruits are offering nuances that exceed expectations”, says Luca Sandrone. According to Lorenzo Scavino, the potential of the most historic vines in the vineyard in this situation has turned out to be surprising: “our old vines suffered very little from this year’s drought, with their deep roots they managed to find deep water and thus produced amazing grapes”.
On the other hand, it is clear to producers who have a history of harvests behind them, personal and of their company, that 2022 represents a fundamental turning point in the discussion on the climate: “years like this represent an important moment of growth for those of us who must know how to adapt to climate change” says Stefano Gagliardo of Poderi Gianni Gagliardo. Stefano Chiarlo from Michele Chiarlo: “the 2022 harvest will be remembered for the climatic adaptation that the vine has demonstrated and for the implementation of the virtuous practices that the Barolo producers have adopted, treasuring previous years with similar climatic conditions”. Every choice, even that, as Luca Sandrone explains, of “not intervening as an act thought out and wanted” made the difference in a year like this.
It was therefore also a test year, to verify how much Barolo producers have been able, with the latest years, to know how to respond effectively to climatic conditions which, however difficult, do not however come unexpectedly. In fact, producers have been adopting systems and precautions in the vineyard for years to cope with the current climatic trend, and to guarantee the excellence of their product.
And in fact, at the end of a critical, extremely anticipated, and rapid harvest, the producers can only be surprised at the quality obtained. “With the due organic care, very healthy grapes were obtained, not burned by the sun and with a high sugar concentration and acidity in line with the last few years” confirms Gianluca Torrengo, Prunotto’s oenologist. Also for Poderi Luigi Einaudi, “the grapes are surprising despite the forecasts, and the wines are elegant and structured”. “The harvest was excellent for us - continues Lorenzo Scavino - the yields were lower, depending on the vineyard, by about 10 to 20% less, but we can’t complain as the bunches were very healthy, fully ripe and concentrated”.
Even the results from the first tastings in the cellar confirm the predictions from the harvest: “the wines still in malolactic fermentation are interesting, pleasant, elegant with an aftertaste tending to sweet on the finish, due in part to the high alcohol content” explains Gianluca Torrengo”. The processes in the cellar continue on the line of the grapes received: with the aim of enhancing their concentration, at the same time maintaining acidity and fragrance, as Poderi Luigi Einaudi indicates: “few pumping over and little extraction, low temperatures in cement, to maintain the fragrance”. “To date, the alcoholic fermentations are completed and we are engaged in the racking operations - explains Cesare Benvenuto (Pio Cesare) - after racking, the wine is left to rest in stainless steel or concrete tanks in a heated room to facilitate the departure and development of malolactic fermentation, essential for the roundness and greater drinkability of our Barolos”.
And now that the wine is ready for winter, it’s time for a first evaluation. “There is no doubt that, after 3 great vintages like the previous ones, the 2022 one can be placed a step below - Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo considers objectively - however, it is also true that expectations were lower than the final result”. Stefano Gagliardo summarizes: “the growing season of 2022 was undoubtedly strong, but to date, the wines are more than satisfactory. However, we will have to follow their evolution to formulate a definitive judgment”. “Now the musts are fermenting, so there is still a long way to go”, concludes Lorenzo Scavino, inviting us to follow the evolution of this vintage, unquestionably unique, with the producers in the coming years of refinement.

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