After a warm spring and a slightly delayed flowering, June and July followed with consistent warm and dry weather. August was rather variable, but in comparison to the previous year, the sun certainly dominated.
The prevailing attribute of summer 2015 was that it was overall much dryer than 2014.
Contrary to many other wine regions, the vineyards in South Tyrol have a good water supply, perhaps sometimes too good. Vineyards were irrigated generously up until the 1990s. This caused vine roots to remain close to the surface rather than to thrust deep in search of moisture in deeper soil layers. Several years ago we began to plough our vineyard soils to correct this. This is actually nothing novel, but the use of this simple technique unfortunately declined in our region over the course of the years. After conscientious sowing of beneficial plants, ploughing enhances soil nutrient content and also trains vines to drive their roots deeper to seek nourishment and moisture in the subsoil. This type of soil management brings more deeply rooted vines that are less susceptible to the stress of drought that can have a negative effect on grape ripening.
As was to be expected, the heat of this year's summer accelerated grape ripening. The first grapes, in particular Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Pinot Bianco in the lower elevated sites, were harvested in the first seeks of September.
As initially feared during flowering, the quantity of Pinot Noir grapes was compromised, but that remained the only drop of bitterness throughout the entire harvest. Gorgeous, small-berried, ripe grape bunches could be promptly picked during the first two weeks of September.
As in every year, many diligent hands were busy with grape selection. All unripe grape berries were discarded because only fully sound and healthy grapes can guarantee the consistently high quality of our Pinot Noir. The wines already appear concentrated and well-structured with intense ruby red colour.
The main harvest took place in the third week of September. Activities were truly busy and colourful as Gewürztraminer, Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Vernatsch and Lagrein from various sites and altitudes all arrived at the cellar nearly simultaneously for vinification.
Now after completion of the harvest, we are full of anticipation of the Pinot Blanc from our monopoly vineyard Barthenau Vigna S. Michele. With the fermentation complete, this wine will now remain for another 15 months on its fine lees in large, used oak casks.
2015 is another great vintage for this variety.
The highlight of the harvest in our vineyards on the west side of the valley was naturally once again the arrival of the Gewürztraminer from our monopol vineyard Vigna Kolbenhof. The colour of the grapes was quite intense this year and one could see the brilliant rosy colour of the bunches from a distance. The mild day temperatures alternated with cool nightsin September resulted in a consistent and homogenous ripening of grapes. A delicate fragrance of rose petals filled the cellar air during the pressing of these grapes and instilled anticipations of a wine of outstanding elegance.