2002 saw rain fall in biblical proportions throughout Northern Italy, and as if that were not enough hail, cool temperatures and wind were prevalent too. Many producers called it the worst vintage for 50 years. For some it proved to be catastrophic, they lost up to 100% of their crops. As always, the most talented producers knew how to deal with the conditions they faced. Those who were prepared to reduce yields and delay (a scrupulously selective) picking produced some very elegant wines in the end. Piedmont was the worst hit region - although the Nebbiolo took advantage of the Indian Summer and the wines achieved good alcohol levels and great balance, albeit with higher than usual acidity levels. The quality whites from Trentino, Alto Adige, Veneto and Fruili all display beautiful balance between alcohol and acidity levels and wonderful purity of fruit, due mainly to the low yields which were able to deal with the cooler than usual conditions. For Tuscany this was an average vintage - the wines are neither disappointing nor great. Piero Antinori decided not to make his world-famous supertuscan, Tignanello, because the Sangiovese crop did not meet his high standards. Further south conditions were much better. Marche, Campania and Puglia all enjoyed good weather and have produced very good wines.
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