Autumn 2021: The harvest of records

Dear friend,

If it is true that this 2021 has been very hard, primarely due to the forced coexistence with the pandemic, it is also true that we have taken great satisfaction in the sports field with the unexpected victory of our national team at the European football championship and with the record medal of Tokyo Games. But it’s not just that! Speaking of records, the province of Siracusa has reached the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe with a peak of 48.8 °C and in our small way, here in Marabino, we have reached the record for the least productive harvest in our history (but of which we are, despite everything, very happy, since the quality of the wines seems fantastic).

This year, 2021, began with a very dry winter and with a cool spring, never excessively hot. On the one hand, the vegetation of the vines was very limited due to the absence of rain, on the other hand, the soils have fortunately retained a good dose of humidity deriving from the very first rainfall of the year. This is the reason why during the season we only carried out 3 treatments based on mine sulfur, a preventive measure against powdery mildew.
Blossoms were regular, however, we immediately noticed that the vines had fewer clusters than in past seasons. Besides, the arrival of summer coincided with ten days of very sultry heat: the sky was hazy, the light was pale, temperatures were over 40 °C. Fortunately, temperatures dropped in July (especially at night) and the normal veraison of Nero d’Avola began. At the end of the month, another burst of very dry African heat arrived and it lasted until mid-August, reaching the heat record I mentioned earlier on the 11th. The weather was so hot! Anyway, let’s talk about wines.

Our white wines: we started the harvest on August 4 with the collection of Moscato grape for “Muscatedda” and we finished it on the 12th with the harvest of the grapes destined for “Moscato della Torre”. On August 5 we harvested the grapes for “Fondo alla Palma”, it has been an extraordinary year for this parcel in terms of quality and finesse. From the 6th to the 10th of August we harvested the chardonnay for “Èureka”. In particular, Moscato and Chardonnay grapes were very healthy, with ripe seeds, striking aromas and surprising freshness, although unfortunately with very low yields.

With the end of August, temperatures returned to the seasonal average, opening the doors to a cooler September, which gave way to some brief but intense rainfalls, an indispensable factor for the completion of the phenolic ripening of the grapes.

Our reds, all based on Nero d’Avola: we started with “Parrino” vineyard on August 24 and found a very healthy grape, light bunches characterized by very small berries, concentrates of aromas and freshness. On average, both in the harvest of white and red grapes we recorded yields of 35 per cent lower than the average production of previous years. As usual, the grapes from the vineyards with the most clayey soils ripened earlier, we harvested those of “Don Paolo” on September 6 and those of “Coniglio” the following day.
After the rains, we did a treatment based on preparation 501 where we had not yet harvested, a biodynamic practice useful to concentrate and enhance the light forces, in order to facilitate the phenolic ripening of the grapes. The calcareous soils are always the freshest ones, even this year, they have been the ones which we have had to wait the longest for. On the occasion of the autumn equinox we harvested “Archimede”, followed by “Conca” and “Don Pasquale”. The harvest ended on September 30 with the harvest of “Lenza Lunga”. In general, I can say that our vines have suffered from excessive heat which has limited our production, however, they have resisted very well as they have been used to extreme climates for many seasons now. The biodynamic management has helped us a lot by balancing the physiology of the vines, we have enjoyed the results in the grapes and wines that we obtained.

The 2021 harvest has in fact given us very deep and balanced whites and reds, with remarkable freshness, dense but never excessively concentrated structures, low alcoholic strengths and very fragrant aromas that bode well for wines with an excellent prospect of longevity and elegance.

If the pandemic has changed our lives, it has perhaps also given us the opportunity to stop and think better, giving space to new ideas, projects and paths. Here in Marabino, great changes are already taking place, which I will tell you about in detail in the coming months.

For now I anticipate that we have increased our vineyards with new Moscato plants, plots that, in addition to envisaging an increase in production for some references, they will open the doors to new projects that we have in the pipeline, together with the purchases of barrels and tanks of various materials in order to carry on along our path of valorisation of the local wines of our “contrada”, Contrada Buonivini.

See you soon.
Pierpaolo Messina