Vineyard practices and climate change have yielded wines with high alcohol levels that used to be seen only in New World bottlings. Italian Editor Kerin O’Keefe asks, is this the new normal?
No one can deny that Italian wine has benefited from a string of great vintages over the last 15 years. Hot, dry summers that extend into September and shorten the growing cycle have, with few exceptions, like 2013 and 2014, replaced the cooler, wetter harvests that plagued much of the country until the late 1990s.
For decades, reaching ideal grape ripening was a major concern for growers, particularly in northern and central Italy. But this once all-consuming challenge has almost become passé.
While quality across Italy is generally higher than ever before, there’s a caveat: rising alcohol levels. And climate change isn’t the only culprit.
Read the article: Hot Italian Wines: Is 15% abv the New 14%?