Tunia – Harvest 2019

Civitella in Val di ChianaTuscany

Harvest at Tunia is an exercise in logistics, human resources, and adapting plans according to Mother Nature.  The vintage normally extends over a two-month period, with multiple passes over the vines according to grape maturity.  

Tunia’s 2019 harvest was late this year, as veraison was about 10 days behind. This delay is explained by the heavy Spring rains.  Fortunately the effects were minimized because the grapes quickly matured once veraison began.  The harvest was generous!  Only a small quantity of grapes suffered from the July heat wave, the rest was of good quality. 

The team is quite small at Tunia: Francesca and Chiara are helped by 4 to 5 seasonal employees who are familiar with the estate and usually work in the vineyards, in the cellar or in the vegetable garden. They are a loyal team that knows the operation well. The maximum quantity of grapes brought in per day was 3,500 kg, the equivalent of a future 25 hectolitres.

Harvest started on August 29th, mostly all under the sun with a few days of rain in October, which is normal for the season and useful for the land! 

It was the Trebbiano that launched the festivities with the grapes used to make the base wine of Sottofondo (traditional method) and part of Chiarofiore (a part vinified in must after direct pressing).  These grapes were picked over a few days, and for the first time, pressed in whole clusters (usually the grapes were de-stemmed).

Trebbiano Rossa for Chiarofiore & Trebbiano for Sottofondo sparkling

From September 18, the first of the red grapes were brought in: Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Some of the Cabernet grapes are pressed directly to produce Chiaroscuro rosé, and another part is blended with Sangiovese to produce a red wine with little extraction, resulting from a shorter maceration which will not be aged as long. The wine is light and fruity… a new project from Tunia!

Then, the team harvested the 2nd passage of Trebbiano which this time is de-stemmed and vinified in vats on skin maceration for about 2 months. The 2nd passages of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon followed for producing the two red wines of the estate: Chiassobuio and Cantomoro. 

Last but not least, only a small part of Trebbiano remained standing. This late harvest is often botrytised. It completes the proportion of Chiarofiore, giving this cuvée complexity with a dimension of dry apricot, quince, and a slight hint of oxidation on the nose. This last harvest will also be vinified on the skins over a few months.

Harvest ended in mid-October … just before the hungry starlings ate the late-harvest Trebbiano grapes left on the vines.

Vendanges in small cases of 15 to 18 kg of grapes

Vinification 2019 and work in the Cellar

Fermentations for 2019 are regular with reasonable alcohol levels. Following the heavy Spring rains, grape quality is rather good.  The first tastings show musts and first wines with a nice freshness (acidity very present) and good tannic structure.

At the time of writing, all the vats have been racked, and the wines are now on fine lees to continue maturing, another important step in the construction of the wines.  It is now a lighter job in the cellar, as the wines are maturing.

Only monitoring the production is still necessary, especially for the Trebbiano grapes suspended to dry under the attics of the Vin Santo barn, which are not very isolated.  They will be pressed later in the season (next January or February) to produce the juice of the santo wine which will be put into small 50 and 100 litre barrels called caratello. The wines will remain in barrel for several years (6.7 years) until they reach beautiful aromatic complexity and richness.

Part of this Vin Santo must will be used for the foaming of the Sottofondo 2019.

Work in the Vines

Tunia replants new vines every year to replace the missing ones. Francesca and Chiara replant with three-year-old plants.  They have selected grafts from their own vines by monitoring over several years the ability of these vines to resist disease and produce quality grapes (massal selections). The grafts are prepared in the nursery.

These vines are delivered in pots and have roots that measure more than one meter. The roots are quite developed but the most important thing is that the plants are high enough so that the deer only eat the leaves from the base and thus let the vine develop upwards.

Indeed, the estate is located very close to the woods and there are many deer that come to roam among the vines. On the first plantations made, they ate the buds at the base of the grafting point and thus destroyed the vine rootstock.

At the end of the year, when the rains are over, they will begin to prepare the ground for the new plantations that will take place in early Spring. Preparing the ground means working the soil to help it take root better during planting.

Pruning will begin, as always, in the first days of January.

In the Spring, some of the Sangiovese will be grafted onto Cabernet Sauvignon.

New Wine!

As mentioned earlier, Tunia has started to produce a younger red wine. The first vintage of this new vintage is 2018, which will be available in early 2020. And we will also have some from 2019… 🙂

The wine is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, vinified together over shorter vatting times to keep more fruity aromas.

Available Wines

méthode traditionnelle 100% Trebbiano, Non-filtered, non-disgorged.    

Sparkling orange wine with 5% base wine produced by skin maceration for one month. Pied de cuve from Vin Santo must without yeast.  Dosage is juice left over from harvest for refermentation in bottle.

Good freshness, fine bubbles.
Notes of dried apricot, quince, cedar. Solar wine.  Beautiful acidity on the palate, beautiful balance.

85% Trebbiano Rosa & 15% Vermentino.

Harvested in 4 stages and separate vinification of each harvest with different skin maceration duration

Complex nose of aromas of sage, dried apricot, harmonious.
Tannic on the palate, silky tannins.

100% carbernet sauvignon rosé

Direct press Cabernet Sauvignon at phenolic maturity.  

The nose is spiced with ground pink peppercorns, plum and dried red roses.  

Supple mouth, very red cherry on the palate. This wine is a spicy gastronomic rosé.

Sangiovese (90%), Colorino (5%), Canaiolo (5%)

Vinification: 70% in stainless steel vats, 30% in Slavonic oak barrels with about 20 days maceration. The yeasts are indigenous.
Ageing: 60% matured in stainless steel vats and 40% in foudre, then matured for min. one year in bottles.   

The nose is wild with savoury dried summer fruit – red cherries, and red currants. Dried roses, rosemary, thyme, liquorice, black fruits, and juicy red plums on the palate, with rustic yet supple tannins,  full of iron and blood finishing the palate.  Nice length.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Vinification: Half fermented in stainless, half in 25 hl French oak casks with a long maceration (30 days). Fermentation takes place with natural yeasts. Ageing: min. 18 months, 50% in 25 hL oak casks, 10% in tonneaux of 3 hL, remaining 40% in stainless. Then in bottle for a further 12 months.

Violets, licorice, cigar box are the classic Cabernet notes on the nose, with a touch of leafy moss, smokey cacao nibs, a dash of balsamic and black peppercorns on the palate.  In the mouth, notes of pepper, cocoa beans, tobacco, plum, cherry, sweet spices, balsamic and graphite. This powerful wine is an exercise in tannin control, with perfectly round luxurious tannins on the tongue. Wine to be served at room temperature.

Taste the Wines of Tunia!

Francesca and Chiara will be showing their wines at the following Salons:

La Dive Bouteille – Loire, France, February 3-4 2019

Haut les Vins ProWein – Düsseldorf, Germany, March 14 2020

For more Wine Fair information, please click here.


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