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In praise of fruit.

The 2012 season began in the Val d’Orcia with snow, followed by fertile rains and gentle winds that continued until the spring equinox.

However, we were reminded of Niccolò Machiavelli’s words: “It is a common failing of calm people that they do not prepare for storms.” In mid-May the weather turned completely upside down, bringing intense heat that dried out the soil. The drought persisted until the last day of August. The temperature often reached 33˚, with peaks of 35˚, though night-time temperature drops allowed the vines to rest and hydrate.

To maintain quality we did a green harvest, removing about 25% of the crop compared to previous years: this year we got 0.7-1.0 Kg per vine, against an average of 1.2 Kg.

At the beginning of September a thunderstorm broke the dry, hot spell and brought relief to vines and humans alike. Our great poet, Dante Aleghieri, wrote: “Guarda il calor del sol che si fa vino, giunto al’omor che della vite cola.” [See the heat of the sun that becomes wine, united with the moisture that filters from the vine.] (“Purgatory”, XXV 77-78). The scientist Galileo Galilei similarly said, “Wine is nothing but the sun’s light blended with the vine’s moisture.”

The rain lasted right through September, an exceptional month with regular lively showers, and the harvest of healthy, perfectly ripe and concentrated grapes started on 6th October, producing wine of great colour, sweetness and depth.

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