The Scent of September

contrada_aliano_-_sava_taI can taste the smell of grapes from my room, I get in waves, following the rhythm of the wind. In front of my house my neighbors are preparing the must: September is traditionally the month of the grape harvest and it is not difficult to find, across the streets in the village, tractors full of grapes.

I was young when myself and my brother used to help my father and my grandfather with the preparation of the must (as our neighbors are doing right now), it was more of a game for us to jump barefoot into huge containers full of grapes and make the juice flows, the scent in the cool of the winery … the smell still reminds me of the sweeter memories and more importantly, for me being away, how much I love my region.

This year’s harvest throughout Italy started early in the first week of August: our region, together with Sicily and Lombardy, kicked off with the first bunches of early grapes and basic sparkling wine (Chardonnay grapes). The cause of this premature harvest is the excessive and prolonged heat that has hit Italy in recent months along with the lack of rain; fortunately the seven anticyclones that have hit Italy this year did not burn the harvest, the vine is strong and once again has demonstrated its ability to adapt to recent climate changes more than other major crops.

contrada_schiavone_-_sava_taDespite the many difficulties then, the grape of Puglia is healthy, with a higher carbohydrate accumulation than previous years and a good sugar/acid ratio. The qualitative predictions of Assoenologi for 2012 are very positive but the official data is expected early weeks in September and will be crucial in determining the quality of wines that the region is going to produce. As with regards to the amount, it is estimated a total production equal to or slightly less than that of the last year.

The average in 2012 is 5.77 million electrolytes (source: Assoenologi). In general we could say: less wine but very good quality. After the early harvest of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Pinot grapes, we are now in the process of ending the one of Primitivo grapes (in the area of Manduria-Sava and Gioia del Colle) and then it will time for the autochthon white grapes followed by those of Negroamaro (top and bottom Salento). The harvest will close in October with the Nero di Troia. So, we hope to have an abundant September and we’ll enjoy the last days of vacation full of an intense aroma of grapes.

Francesca Pichierri

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