2001 Italy

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Italy's run of successful vintages continues unabated. 2001 was the 6th consecutive year in which Piedmont had an outstanding vintage. There was some wet weather at the start of the harvest but October witnessed excellent weather with warm, sunny days and cool nights. The vintage favoured those harvested late and the best wines are deeply coloured and well structured. The wines tend to lack the richness of the 2000s but are wonderfully harmonious and well balanced. Despite extreme weather conditions throughout 2001 in Tuscany, leading wine producers have produced some outstanding wines with some making comparisons with the stunning 1997s. There were severe frosts in April but most of the best hillside vineyards escaped relatively unscathed. However yields were down by as much as 40% in some areas. The summer was variable - after a mainly stable and dry June and July, the weather underwent constant change throughout August and September, running from hot to cool, from humid to dry. The final act was a deluge of rain during the last week of September. High quality Chiantis have been produced but the most successful Tuscan region was Bolgheri, home to Sassicaia and Ornellaia. "I have never seen such high-quality grapes in my life in Bolgheri," said Renzo Cotarella, technical director for Antinori, which produces the Bordeaux-style blend Guado Al Tasso in Bolgheri. "The young wines are very rich in fruit and tannins. It may be the best we ever made."

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