Enologist Attilio Pagli describes the prospects for the 2021 vintage
«Little wine but good and, in some cases, even excellent»: that is the summary of the 2021 vintage from enologist Attilio Pagli, one of the most celebrated professionals in his field who has made a major contribution to the development of modern winemaking both in Italy and abroad. With almost forty years’ experience behind him, he consults for more than 30 producers in Italy and South America.
«From a meteorological point of view,» he explains, «this year was definitely not one of the easiest for the vines’ growing cycle. The winter was characterized by normal temperatures, with good thermal excursions between night and day. This mild season, with little rain, was followed by a similarly dry spring, especially in Central Italy. However, because of the weather conditions, the growers then had to deal with some major challenges and they suffered great problems, we must remember, as a result of the frosts at the beginning of April,
which slowed down considerably ripening and the growth of the vines, contributing to a notable drop in the quantity of the harvest».
Pagli also refers to the data processed by Unione Italiana Vini, the Association of
Enologists and Ismea, which certify Italy’s total wine production for the 2021 campaign
at 44.5 million hectoliters, thus registering a 9% drop compared to the 49 million
hectoliters of 2020.
Suffering most of all were the Sangiovese grapes, whereas Vermentino – and the white
varieties in general – were less hard hit. Every vigneron always hopes for a “great
vintage”, and perhaps for some this will be such a year. In fact, Pagli underlines that: «It
is in years like this when you can tell whether a terroir has a real vocation for viticulture or
not. Indeed, in the “best” zones some splendid wines will undoubtedly be produced this year; in less good zones, on the other hand, there will be wines with hard, aggressive tannins».
The first bunches have already been arriving at some wineries for a few weeks now, and the harvest is now coming into full swing in every Region of Italy.
The last region that Pagli will visit will be the Valtellina, where harvesting will only begin around the middle of October. Then he will head for South America, to visit and deal with vineyards in Argentina and in Chile.
«Grapes are a fruit that grows spontaneously, but which for thousands of years have been taken care of and transformed by man. He, in symbiosis with nature, contributes to the final composition of the product: a fine balance between the simplicity of an idea that makes absolutely no allowance for manipulation and the complexity of a production process that leaves a very tight margin for error» – that is what the enologist’s job entails.