The Season so Far…
Italy has had a proper winter this year. Finally un bello freddo to allow the olive trees to fully shut down and rest after the growing season and harvest. And it’s fair to say we really needed that because the super cold also has an important sterilising effect, protecting the trees from pests and diseases. Snowmen were built, even in Sicily, and this was followed by an impressive amount of rain throughout the country. All good: we have had a few dry years and the ground reserves really needed replenishing.
What is unusual however is that we haven’t really seen much of a spring, we had a glimpse of it in April but May has been incredibly wet and really rather cool by Italian standards as a lethargic front hovers over Southern Europe. The sheer quantity of water has lead to an abundance of growth, the flowers this year are sensational and pastures are a forager’s dream. The dampness however does come with obvious risks – our growers have to pay incredible attention to their groves to ensure diseases don’t take hold. It’s another huge benefit to be working with producers who own their olive trees: they are fully in control of the quality throughout the growing season.
It strikes me that it’s quite impossible to see patterns in our weather any more (maybe it’s always been like that, but perhaps I didn’t see it this way before). No two years seem to be the same. The wine trade has a habit of comparing vintages to each other to give an indication of where the quality might land, with a year like 2018 it is still too early to call it. Early indications are extremely positive but everything is still to play for over the summer months.