Return to the Vineyard: Tunia – Tuscany Harvest 2020

Tour of the vines with Chiara and Francesca and tasting of the current vintage

Civitella in Val di Chiana, Arezzo, Tuscany
October 2020

The grape harvest at the Tunia estate is getting longer and longer. Started on August 24th and the team are still not yet completely finished … believe it or not.

Several passages allow the harvest of grapes of different levels of maturity according to the production of bubbles or still white (orange) and red wines.

This 2020 vintage promises to be of good quality since the estate did not suffer from Oïdium as was the general situation in Tuscany this year.

All the vintages will be produced … much to our delight!  

In this report you will find :

  • Very early budburst
  • Minimizing treatments: Reducing the dosage of copper and sulfur
  • Replacing vines
  • A spread out harvest
  • 2020: A promising vintage
  • Organic wines available

Very early budburst

Winter was neither very cold nor rainy this year.  Heavy rains occurred in the Spring in April and May and then stopped suddenly.

The estate grows 4 different varieties of grapes and the budburst was very fast and early.  This year was spread out with a month’s difference between the first one, Vermentino, and the last one, Trebbiano.

These rains do not prevent the passage of tractors because there is a permanent crop cover and good soil drainage.

Despite the high humidity in the spring, Mildew was not a threat to Tunia because the vineyard is well exposed to wind.

The flowering took place in June; here again we find the gap of a month between the earliest variety – Vermentino and the latest – Trebbiano. 

Cluster of Vermentino, first week of August

The months of July and August were dry with very high temperatures. Even for Tuscany, the heat was unusual and more frequent in recent years with several days at over 35 °C.

The plants reacted by blocking the ripening of the grapes.  It was the life-saving rains of September that relieved the situation and allowed the vines to continue their growing cycle.

Sangiovese – first week of August
Biodiversity at Tunia : a pheasant and a hare call the vineyards home

Minimizing treatments: Reducing the dosage of copper and sulfur

As every year, Francesca is in perpetual reflection to reduce her doses of copper or sulfur.
For 2020, the doses were lower than those of 2019.  To do this, she adds different organic solutions along with copper and sulfur that seem to increase the effectiveness of the treatments.

Almost all these solutions are made directly from the Domaine :

-the hydro-alcoholic solution of bee propolis, from the beehives of a friend of the wine growers, installed on the Estate’s property

-a maceration of the plant “horsetail” (Equisetum arvense)

-a maceration of nettles

-micronized zeolite, a crystalline rock reduced to an extremely fine powder (particles of about 5 microns). This rock is extremely interesting for its silica content and its high ion exchange capacity. Francesca uses it to make a metallic barrier against fungi: oidium & mildew but also grape worms (eudemis and cochylis). As the application leaves a white powder on the vines, it also protects against the sun by shielding the leaves from the strong rays. 

This year in addition to these solutions, Francesca tried a wood distillate.

All these compounds are added together in the treatment solution.

Replacing vines

After looking for solutions to replant effectively and no longer suffer the greed of neighbouring deer who like to snack on young vines, the estate replants 2 year old rootstocks in pots.
And the results are positive!
This year the first young vines were harvested! 

There are still some greedy people among the neighbouring animals … Of course, it is always the ripest grapes that go first… 

A spread out harvest

Picking officially started on August 24th with the first passage through the Trebbiano to make the base wine of Sottofondo. Why? What is sought is the crisp, high acidity – the grapes are harvested before maturity.

Image: Case of Trebbiano rosa

Then, in the following order, came the Vermentino, the Sangiovese for the Contrappunto, and then the Sangiovese for for Chiassobuio.
This year, exceptionally, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested at the same time as the Sangiovese.
Lastly, as you might guess, the Trebbiano grapes were picked for Chiarofiore.

However, the harvest is not over yet as the estate will soon harvest the botrytized Trebbiano for Chiarofiore.

October was rainy, but now the weather forecast is beautiful and warm (20°C).  For Chiara and Francesca, it is perfect for the last harvest!

2020: A Promising Vintage

Francesca is confident about the quality of the grapes; the harvest went well and the grapes were ripe and healthy.

TUNIA is an estate that takes their time when it comes to vilification.  The wines will ferment, age, rest and evolve over several years.  As the wines will lay down for several years, it is difficult to pronounce the style of the vintage at this time of the year … after all this effort, we will forget them for a while, to taste them later.

Organic Wines Available

Sottofondo 2019 – Sparkling Traditional Method – 100% Trebbiano, method traditional with a “prise de mousse” en February, from a part of the sweet must of the Vin Santo: Passatempo
The color is amber because part of the must is the result of several months of skin-contact maceration. On the nose we find notes of cedar, bitter orange peel, apple. In the mouth, a great freshness and salinity and citrus fruit notes.  Very fine bubbles.

Chiarofiore 2015 – 85% Trebbiano, harvested in three stages of different maturity, and 15% Vermentino.  
Amber color, A nose reminiscent of cloves, pine, cedar, bitter orange peels. The mouth is fresh, rich in fine tannins with a nice length. 

Contrappunto 2018 – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon direct press with 50% Sangiovese (whole cluster)
A vibrant, youthful wine, very aromatic red fruits: strawberry, raspberry, red currants. A juicy, fresh and fruit-forward finish in the mouth. A very supple and easy-drinking wine.

Chiassobuio 2011 – 100% Sangiosese
Slightly bricking-red color on the edges of the glass, the nose opens beautifully after some time in the decanter.
Aromatics of plum, cherry, cranberry, balsamic vinegar and dried autumn undergrowth. A structured mouth with fine and silky tannins.

Cantomoro 2010 – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Intense garnet-red color, complex nose with notes of caramel, blueberries, white pepper, rhubarb. The mouth is smooth and very long, with velvety, well-integrated tannins.  A stunning, 10 year old Cabernet Sauvignon.

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