A REPORT FROM THE ROVELLOTTI FAMILY IN GHEMME
I received a note yesterday from my good friend, Antonello Rovellotti, who was brimming with good cheer because of the healthy state of his vineyards in Baragiola, recognized as the top “cru” in Ghemme. He recounted that back when he was a young boy (and he is near 60 now), there were thousands of dragonflies circulating throughout the vineyards dining incessantly on the various insects that took up residence during the season of ripening grapes with their aromatic flowers and delicious skins and pulp. However, during the 80s and 90s as the region industrialized and as the agricultural community in large part turned to the multitude of chemical solutions to the problems of pests and weeds, the presence of the dragonfly diminished to the point of virtual disappearance. Today, the Rovellotti family reports that, after a decade and more of having led the charge towards organic farming, the dragonfly has returned … and in abundance. See the photos as proof.
As an aside, Antonello also provides news on the 2017 harvest, noting that for the first time in his memory the grapes have all come into the cantina by the end of September; thus, the earliest harvest date ever! The whites are rich and concentrated, perhaps a bit too alcoholic; we shall see once fermentations are complete. The Nebbiolo was saved and is quite promising as the dry, hot summer conditions were alleviated in the last days by two rainfalls, both of which were gentle but constant and timely. Again, we will test these early judgments over the coming years as the wines proceed through fermentation and elevage, the latter being a particularly important element in determining the ultimate character of the Ghemme from Rovellotti, a wine that is blessed by the extreme patience of the Rovellotti family as it practices its traditional extended “birthing” of this great wine. After all, we are just now in the midst of the release of the 2009 vintage.