2012 GROWING YEAR
The 2012 growing year experienced an alternation of weather conditions, culminating in a seasonal conclusion that was classically Mediterranean.
Winter was particularly cold for the first two months of the year, but the absence of rains was greater than any time in the last 20 years. Winds blowing down from Russia brought the cold “Bora” wind, with blasts that reached as high as 100k/hour for a period of some 20 days. This was followed by a remarkably warm March, which pushed the early-developing varieties out of their winter dormancy and into the weeping stage about one week earlier than in 2011. Budbreak in chardonnay and pinot grigio occurred late in the first week in April, in cold, rainy conditions, which retarded their development. Flowering in the early-developing varieties began around 22 May in mild weather, which then turned cool and rainy; these conditions prolonged flowering to about 22 days, bringing some coulure. July allowed the vines to make up for lost time, however, since it brought higher-than-average temperatures, particularly in the first part of the month. As expected, July and part of August ushered in a period of water deficit to some degree, due to scarce rainfall and high evapotranspiration by the vine leaves. Thus, in 2012 too it became necessary to apply some supplementary irrigation to reduce water deficit stress and to maintain growth momentum in the vines.
The start of veraison in chardonnay and pinot grigio occurred on 18 July, about 10 days later than in 2011. August brought slightly higher-than-average temperatures, and a brief hot spell (16-22 August) accelerated the ripening process, with the various varieties developing physiologically slightly earlier than the historic norm. After some rainfall, temperatures fell on 26 August to minimums as low as 12°C, but September presented us with mild temperatures, with lows around 15°C; the resultant day-night temperature differentials brought optimal ripening of the fruit.
Harvesting began on 30 August, with sauvignon blanc and a limited amount of pinot grigio, slightly earlier than the average but one week later than in 2011. Since September was generally cool and brought little rain, all of the grapes reached complete ripeness, and were in sound, healthy condition.
The growing year, then, could be categorised as classically Mediterranean for its summer heat and dryness.
It must be underscored that such weather did not impact all of the varieties or all of our cru vineyards in the same way. We noticed a more marked Mediterranean effect on Ciampagnis Vieris Chardonnay, Dolèe Friulano, and Dis Cumieris Malvasia Istriana; they display characteristics linked to ripe fruit, with a notable smoothness on the palate and a nice fruit-fatness-acidity balance that is already in evidence. Our other crus, however, exhibit a slightly different sensory expression, where citrus and mineral impressions, along with nuances of fruit, are more indicative of a season classically positioned between two climates, one cool and continental and the other more Mediterranean