Sunday, October 09, 2022

Italy's "Miracle Harvest" for the 2022 Wine Crop

"Un Miracolo!"

Get ready, for here it comes! The long-awaited (and inevitable) treatise tsunami over the 2022 Italian grape harvest. Just like the ubiquitous dissertations on the perfect Thanksgiving wine or the vaulted Springtime piece on the gaggle of new rosé wines. Why do we love these so? Too many scribes today are looking for the easy-layout, the slam dunk, the no-brainer, when it comes to content. The 21st century has broken everything, and the internet leads the way, always and in every way. So, let’s get ready for a plethora of boilerplate and an avalanche of cliché, with regards to the 2022 harvest. It will be epic!

Honestly, who even remembers the 1994 harvest? Or the 2011? And what makes the 2022 more special? Oh, right, it’s because we’re here and now and 2022 is the thing, dangling right in front of us, begging the experts (and they are all experts) to pass their judgment and burnish their (s)word upon the producer’s shoulders.

They will talk about the weather and global warming. They will dwell on drought and floods. Of the wind storm that comes up on the peninsula and the maritime breezes. They will not forget to enlighten you about the hillside vines and their exposure to the sun and the wind and the moon and planets. They will blather on about Dante and Petrarch and Veronelli and Parker. They will deliver orations about production and abundance, or lack thereof. They will labor over the journey a sole winemaker takes to make their perfect wine. They will lecture about chemicals, or their revulsion to chemicals. Ditto for technology. And let’s not forget intervention. Every buzzword imaginable will be packed into their reports.

Some of them will charge for it. Some of them will lay it down in front of you for free. It doesn’t matter, they will use similar words and strive for self-importance. For they will identify with the harvest as a reflection of their self-worth. And what will we, the lowly wine drinkers, make of it? What is our takeaway?

Well, I reckon the writers will want us to laud them for their powers of observation and prognostication. For many of them will tell you that when they toured the vineyards in April that they saw, they felt, they knew that this would be the harvest to end all harvests.



Meanwhile, winemakers toil. They pick. Sticky hands, sore backs, sunburn, long hours, sweaty, weak knees. And then they take to crush and press. And wait and watch, sleeping at the winery, because they need to punch down every few hours. Watching their babies incubate and become wine. Away from family, little or no sleep. The occasional shower. No exercise except for the work. Haphazardly eating. Little, or most likely, no sex. All in service of the grapes, the vines, the wine gods.

But yet, we are supposed to worship the writer of the harvest report because they elucidate all that is necessary for understanding.

Like I said, get ready, I can hear them typing away furiously right now, all over the world. You need them to tell you what you need to know about anything and everything that the harvest has wrought.

For now, I’m going to go outside and take a walk in this nice, cool, crisp autumn weather. What will be will be, regardless of the self-appointed tastemakers and wine hustlers proclivity for gab.

I might even open up that last bottle of Lambrusco Sorbara and start up the wood smoker and smoke me some wild, line-caught salmon, indubitably.

I’ll give it to you in one short paragraph, this 2022 harvest:

“After a short, wet spring and a long hot summer, with a little help from the scirocco and the maritime breezes, the harvest of 2022 in Italy will go down as one of the surprisingly greatest in history. ‘Definitely the harvest of the decade if not the century!’ one independent winemaker in the Langhe exclaimed. In Tuscany, as well, the elderly Montalcino scions noted that they hadn’t seen a harvest like this ‘since 1967.’ And in the Veneto, Amarone producers were licking their lips over a protracted growth season with ‘potentially gobs and gobs of great Amarone to come, nothing like we have seen since 1947.’ Not to be outdone the Etna producers amplified the feeling from the peninsula and went one step further. ‘We have not seen a wine harvest like this since 1828 – this is definitely the harvest of the millennial.’ So be it. the greatest harvest Italy has ever seen, mark their words.

And if you liked 2022, as they said in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, just wait till next year. It’ll be even greater. Just ask the experts! 

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