The 2001 was a good vintage for Port, yielding dark and well structured wines. While not generally declared, this was an excellent vintage nevertheless coming directly after the 2000 vintage, and some excellent Single Quinta wines were produced. One of the wettest winters on record was followed by a moderately hot summer with light winds, which helped prevent disease. Harvest started at Quinta de Vargellas on September 17th and on the 20th in the Pinhao Valley, so rain on the 29th and again on the 5th of October affected only the tail end of the vintage. All in all, yields were up almost 30% over the preceding year. David Guimaraens, Head Winemaker at Taylor's, Fonseca and Croft and the sixth generation of his family to make wines for Fonseca, wrote: “This year is certainly distinguished by being a year of larger production with a consistently high overall quality, as has not been seen since 1995.”
The 2001 Italian vintage caps off a remarkable string of outstanding vintages for Piedmont that began in 1996. During that relatively brief time period producers gained a great deal of knowledge and experience, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, a positive trend which continues today. In addition, 2001 featured the growing conditions in which Nebbiolo thrives: hot daytime temperatures alternating with cool nights. The favourable weather, along with producers' newfound sense of maturity, combined to produce an extraordinary set of wines. Simply put, for Barolo, 2001 is the most complete of the vintages between 1996 and 2001. These would make an excellent 18 year old wine gift for a birthday or anniversary celebration, and will keep well for years to come.
This vintage is characterised by wines that are in a classic style, with high tannic qualities and with fresh acidity and medium body. The weather throughout the growing season was cool and cloudy. A mostly dry September and October allowed the late harvest of a large crop. The wines will be relatively slow to evolve given the relatively good acid and tannin levels.