Early images from Italy’s vintage 2021. Chardonnay harvest in Franciacorta.

These images arrived last night from Franciacorta where my friends began harvesting Chardonnay grapes for the production of classic method sparkling wines on Saturday.

Those are grapes from the Arcari + Danesi flagship vineyard on Montorfano (Mount Orfano) in the southern part of the appellation. Photos by Arianna Vianelli, the winery’s media manager.

Grapes for sparkling wine, like those in the photos above and below, are generally the first to be picked in any given harvest. Arcari + Danesi is actually one of the latest to pick in their appellation because they like to go for a more ripe style than many of their neighbors.

Yields are going to be reduced this year because of the many intense weather events that took shape between the spring and through the summer. But the quality of fruit, says my bromance Giovanni Arcari, is promising. He and his business partner Nico, Franciacorta’s golden hand, plan to make less but high-quality wine nonetheless in this challenging vintage.

If you’re interested in tasting Giovanni and Nico’s wines, I’ll be pouring the 2016 Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero next week in Southern California and the following week in Northern California. It’s just one of the wines that’s part of my 2Bianchi.com wholesale portfolio. Seriously hit me up if you’d like to taste. I also need restaurant recommendations!

We also have the 2015 Dosaggio Zero on my list at Roma restaurant here in Houston. It’s made from the same vineyard in the photos.

I’ll be pouring at the restaurant tomorrow evening here in Texas for our Tuesday night FREE tasting. And then I’ll also be moderating our weekly virtual wine dinner, this week on Wednesday, not our usual Thursday.

On Thursday we’re hosting our first in-person dinner with a winemaker from Brunello. It’s sold out but let me know if you’d like to be added to the wait list.

Wishing a buona vendemmia to all our friends and colleagues in Italy. It’s been a rough year for them, on too many levels. But harvest is always a time for hope and for better things to come!

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