We completed in early September the harvest of Tocai and Cortese, the white grapes of Cavaion and Bardolino. We harvested these varieties in the cooler hours of the morning and the grapes had a good balance of maturity and freshness (acidity).
Then on September 6th, we collected the Sangiovese in Cavaion, which also had a good degree of maturity and were good compact bunches. These grapes will be used for both our Chiaretto and Bardolino wines. We have also noticed a higher quality in the Sangiovese grapes this year compared with the 2010 vintage.
The rest of the week 36 was dedicated to the selection of grapes for Castello Guerrieri Rosso in the drying rooms of Cavaion. For this it was important not to select Corvina grapes from the Bardolino Vineyards that were too concentrated and too mature.
On September 12, with conditions of high heat and humidity still prevalent, we picked the grapes from different Cavaion vineyards, for the Chiaretto. These grapes were not the most mature grapes, but have a great aromatic potential for this style of wine. The 2011 Chiaretto is still fermenting at the time of writing and it is already exhibiting a pale pink delicate colour, reminiscent of onion skin with good flavours.
In the last week of September, at the beginning of autumn, we still had a warm climate with temperatures above the seasonal average, close to 30C. This climate resulted in a harvest of fully ripe grapes, both from the Merlot vines and our old Corvina vines.
The harvest was finished on September 27, 2011.
The red wines of Bardolino are very interesting and the new technical installations for wine making (stainless, cold and warm temperature-controlled tanks) in the Campazzi cellar, have further enhanced the quality, resulting in sharper tannic structures and cleaner, more aromatic varietals, which are typical of the wines. This year's expressions of the Corvina is more towards the fruit the than spice of the grape, mainly with notes of cherry and almond. The Rondinella in 2011 has a floral and fruity structure, which is excellent and similar to those of the Sangiovese and Merlot grapes.
The long summer, with temperatures above the seasonal average right through to the end September, helped the structure and concentration of the red wines, and is comparable to "hot vintages" like 2009, 2007 and 2003.
The Chardonnay was harvested at night on 23rd August. It has now finished its fermentation and has resulted in a wine with complex aromas, fruity and floral tastes and a good balance of freshness, concentration and fruit.
Between the 6th and 7th September, we have harvested the younger vines of Garganega grapes. These were ripe, healthy and of an excellent quality.
During the first week of October, we picked the ripe grapes from the mature and beautiful vineyards of Costeggiola and La Rocca.
In Negrar, as a result of the hot and early vintage, the selection of the grapes for the Amarone began early and this was completed between 5 and 15 September 2011. During the past 10 years, only once did we finish the Amarone selection so early and that was in 2007. So we can talk of a very early vintage in Negrar!
Corvina and Rondinella grapes were the two main varieties collected, followed by the Sangiovese and Barbera.
The drying process of Corvinone grapes started later, between 22 and 23 September, due to the late maturation of this grape variety.
On 15 September, after waiting for the strong wind to dry the water on the grapes from recent rain of September 14th, we began the picking of fresh grapes for the Valpolicella.
This harvest began on September 20th, starting with the Corvina from a vineyard in which we had first selected the grapes for the Amarone. This was followed by the Calcarole hill, where we picked grapes, which would make a fresh, and fruity style of wine, and which will be used in the Valpolicella Classico.
In the following days we collected the Merlot grapes, which had a perfect ripeness and structure. Parcels of these will be used for Clos Roareti wine and the rest for the Valpolicella 2011.
We began the last part of harvest on 6th October. This was the Corvinone and Rondinella, both of which had benefited from excellent conditions for a slow and progressive maturation.
At the time of writing some of the wines have already finished their alcoholic fermentation. They all exhibit an intense colour, good structure with typical varietal expressions.
The prolonged drought in the summer and the warm temperatures, even in the late part of September, resulted in a significant level of concentration in the wine, with some increased alcohol levels.
We finished the harvest during the weeks numbering 40 and 41 of 2011.