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2020 a complicated vintage in the vineyards of Piedmont, yielding light to mid-weight wines for relatively early consumption. The fruit is very pretty and accessible; these wines are delightful already. Just don’t expect extended aging to yield great improvement. 2020 is a better vintage in Tuscany, offering ripe, concentrated wines which are already attractively open and expressive.

2019 an excellent year in Piedmont, with comparisons made to other important recent vintages such as 2016, 2013 and 2010. In Barolo and Barbaresco, the wines have a stunning purity and poise; all the elements of each wine are beautifully balanced. The wines are already thoroughly enjoyable, a testimony to the suppleness of the tannins and modern winemaking. But they will age effortlessly. 2019 is likewise excellent in Tuscany, giving bright, concentrated wines with good aging potential.

2018 more difficult in Italy than its successor; a difficult growing season in Piedmont has resulted in very perfumed Nebbiolo wines, mid-weight and fresh, but lacking the concentration of fruit or tannins for anything more than mid-term aging. In Tuscany there are many good (if not great) wines, but also many lighter, rather acidic styles. It is a vintage to stick to the top producers.

2017 notorious across Italy for its heatwave conditions, the wines from 2017 are perhaps rather better than one might imagine. In Piedmont, there are plenty of good wines, with lots of freshness, concentrated (but not stewed) fruit and ample tannins for long aging, especially from terroirs that tend to produce more robust styles. Outside of those locations, the wines should be enjoyed while the fruit remains fresh. In Tuscany, the sheer power of the wines will require some bottle age, but the rich, generous fruit will easily hold up to yield sumptuous renditions of each terroir.

2016 already a legendary vintage in Piedmont and Tuscany. In Piedmont, the classical elegance of the style showcases purity and terroir expression, while also maintaining excellent fruit concentration and ample tannin for aging: it deserves a place in every collector’s cellar. In Tuscany, the freshness of the year combined with depth of fruit and particularly gorgeous aromatics has created compelling wines.

2015 a very good year in Italy. In Tuscany, ripe, concentrated, juicy wines emerged. They lack the grace and sophistication of the 2016s, but it seems unfair to complain when only the most severe drinkers would criticize them. The style is similar in Piedmont, where the wines are rich and powerful, but remain balanced. The top crus will age gloriously for two decades.

2014 a wet vintage across most of Italy, resulting in light, early drinking wines in most of Tuscany and Piedmont. A noble exception is Barbaresco, which produced plenty of very good wines. These can represent excellent value on restaurant wine lists.

2013 a lovely vintage in a mid-weight, particularly aromatic, fresh, terroir expressive style, in both Piedmont and Tuscany. The Piedmont wines can be thrilling, combining wonderful fruit purity with concentration and structure. The Tuscany 2013s can be a bit lighter than years like 2010 or 2011, but what they lack in density, they make up for in verve and detail.

2012 an attractive vintage for accessible, juicy wines in Piedmont, although lacking the structure, complexity and concentration of the best years. In Tuscany, a warm season gave rich, generous wines that are drinking well today, but without the x factor of superior vintages.

2011 a torrid year in Tuscany, resulting in concentrated, sometimes alcoholic or heavy wines. Chianti, with its naturally high acidity, may have been the most successful area. Piedmont was not dissimilar, with some Barolo wines heavy and lacking their usual high-toned qualities. Barbaresco fared well, however. Apart from the single vineyards from the top producers, most 2011s can, and probably should, be broached today.

2010 a wonderful vintage across much of Italy. In Piedmont, superbly classic wines emerged from Barolo; structured, terroir-specific and elegant, these are gorgeous wines which will continue to delight drinkers for at least another 15 years. Barbaresco, however, was less successful and those wines should largely be drunk now. In Tuscany, Chianti and Brunello reached new heights, producing wines showing outstanding transparency to their origins, and combining freshness and fruit concentration admirably.

2009 a hot year in Italy, producing fast-maturing, ripe and even over-ripe wines in Tuscany. In Piedmont, the Barolo vintage is quite successful, however, with rich, generous wines. Barbaresco is less consistent.

2008 in Piedmont, a vintage of sturdy tannins and acidity, which is slowly coming good. So much so, in fact, that some drinkers wonder if this could become one of the great vintages for Barolo. In Tuscany, a relatively cool year supplied medium bodied wines with plenty of tannins and acidity. They are largely accessible today.

2007 a hot year in Italy. From Tuscany, the wines have always been lush and generous while retaining just about enough acidity. In Piedmont, the wines are aromatic, rich and delicious, if possibly lacking the complexity of the best years.

2006 a balanced year gave wines of great concentration and tannic power in both Tuscany and Piedmont. The best of these will continue improving for at least another decade.

2004 an important year in Piedmont, producing benchmark wines of huge aromatic class, complexity and high quality tannins, and with years yet to run. In Tuscany, Brunello, Chianti and the Super Tuscans all produced outstanding wines that are drinking beautifully today.

2002 an extremely difficult, not to say disastrous, vintage across Italy. Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Monfortino is a particularly noble exception, however.

2001 a very good year in Tuscany and Piedmont, but to be drunk now.

Earlier notable vintages: 1999, 1996 (in Piedmont, 1997 is better in Tuscany), 1990, 1985