Learn more about 2003 Italy
As with most of Europe, a very hot vintage throughout the country has created some atypical wines.
The hot weather did cause some problems with the maturation of the grapes being halted in some areas as the vines closed themselves down. Sunburn of the grapes and drought was also a problem, but despite this some very good wines were made.
The whites in the north are full-bodied and rich, but less aromatic than usual. The Veneto reds will be very good, it will certainly be an Amarone vintage to look out for.
It was more difficult in Piedmont with the heat affecting the Nebbiolo in Barolo and Barbaresco badly. Very high sugar levels threatened the potential for physiological ripeness of the grapes. During fermentation the yeasts had trouble coping with the high alcohol levels produced by the high sugars. Some of the best producers have made some good Barolos and Barbarescos, but there will not be much bottled. Dolcetto and Barbera did better and it will be a good vintage for both of those varieties.
In Tuscany and the Marche the heat was severe as well, but caused fewer problems with Sangiovese and Montepulciano than Nebbiolo. There will be quite good results in Chianti, with the higher altitude vineyards doing best. There were few problems in Montalcino and the wines there will be concentrated and fine. Production will be down, but those that there are will provide very good early to medium term drinking.