Peppe, Gentile…and the New Wine…
“Poco ma buono” , wine experts unanimously declare the 2012 vintage. The lack of rain and intense summer heat hampered the proper maturation of the grapes, resulting in a drastic drop in grape production, though the quality of the wines should be excellent. Claudio Riponi, head of the Departimento di Vinicoltura ed Enologia dell’Università di Bologna, assures “qualita’ buona”, explaining that this summer’s hot and dry temperatures protected the grapes from disease.
The 2012 harvest will be the most meagre since 1950 with grape yield down 5.6% compared to last year but down 10% in comparison to the average yield of the last fifty years. Here in the hills around Assisi – where climate is more mild – most of our farm neighbors are pleased with a good yield, though “l’uva e’ piu’ piccola”, Peppe reports.
I visited Peppe and Gentile the other day and their wine cellar was stacked with crates of grapes. In his late 70’s, Peppe is picking all on his own: Gentile has far too much pain in her joints to scramble around their vineyard, fanning out over the hill. “Piano piano” (“slowly, slowly”), he says, clarifying that he is picking bit by bit at a slow and steady pace. “What rush is there?”
We went into the cellar for a glass of last year’s wine, which Peppe drew out of the vats, holding a paper cup under the spigot. Following an age-old Umbrian tradition, we’ll first taste the 2012 new wine, “il vino novello”, on the Feast of San Martino, November 11th, along with roasted chestnuts: “San Martino, San Martino, castagne e vino”. A month or so away – but in the meantime, pane, prosciutto e vino rosso shared with Peppe and Gentile is still a festa.
Click here to read about San Martino traditions
Read more about Peppe and Gentile
Click here to read about sharing a rural rite with Peppe and Gentile
Read more about our rural friends
Click here to read about past grape harvests
Read about our sizzling summer, 2012