The 2017 wine year in Italy and Piedmont was the warmest and driest year since temperatures and precipitation have been measured. This year 2017 presented the winemakers with great challenges because it was a year with enormous heat, which began in April and lasted until August. Then the weather was unusually cool in September and October, which had a positive effect on the development of the berries. This cool weather has helped the grapes to reach the necessary acidity that keeps the Baroli fresh and also important for a good aging potential.
But the key to understanding 2017 wasn't the heat, it was the drought, as most vintners insisted. The strategy adopted by many growers to deal with the drought was to slow down the growth of the vines in the vineyards and to bring forward the harvest date. Another effective strategy was less thinning of the bunches. This naturally results in higher yields, less concentrated grapes and less sugar accumulation resulting in wines that are more balanced and fresh.
If you want to sum up the 2017 vintage, you could find the following:
While 2017 was an extremely hot and dry vintage, the 2017 Baroli stylistically does not reflect this. They are definitely not full-bodied, concentrated and alcoholic like some Baroli from the hot 2011 vintage. Instead, the Baroli are more finesse, elegant and balanced with rich fruit and amazing freshness. The tannin is fine and already accessible, while the acidity present is sufficient for good aging potential.
The 2017 vintage will not go down in history as the vintage of the century. However, it does not have to hide behind the 2016 vintage and, if development is normal, can be classified as a great vintage.