Overview about the 2018 vintage

How Saturnalia can help in selecting the best wines

List of wines in the Brunate MGA (LWIN* code in brackets); surface areas calculated from GIS.

  • Batasiolo (Barolo, no LWIN); Total surface: 1.57ha.

  • Bergadano (Barbera, no LWIN); Total surface: 1.10ha.

  • Enzo Boglietti (Barolo, 1290044); Total surface: 0.45ha.

  • Claudio Boggione (Barolo, 1637218); Total surface: 0.81ha.

  • Francesco Borgogno (Barolo, no LWIN); Total surface: 0.32ha.

  • Ceretto (Barolo, 1314537); Total surface: 5.30ha.

  • Damilano (Barolo, 1164116); Total surface: 0.61ha.

  • Marcarini (Barolo, 1101030); Total surface: 3.90ha.

  • Mario Marengo (Barolo, 1101160); Total surface: 0.68ha.

  • Oddero (Barolo, 1202551); Total surface: 0.40ha.

  • Francesco Rinaldi e Figli (Barolo, 1104158); Total surface: 2.10ha.

  • Giuseppe Rinaldi (Barolo, 1104190); Total surface: 0.91ha.

  • Flavio Saglietti (Barolo, no LWIN); Total surface: 0.32ha.

  • Vietti (Barolo, 1106312); Total surface: 0.45ha.

  • Roberto Voerzio (Barolo, 1106569); Total surface: 0.76ha.

*LWIN code is the universal identifier for wine and spirits provided by Liv-ex

Brunate at a glance


28.34 ha


From 231 to 407 meters


From 2% to 52%


From 80° to 175°

Vintage 2018

The following charts are an easy way to display data representative of the vintage. 

Growing degree days show that 2018 was warmer than the average of the 2010-2020 decade. In particular, heat accumulated faster than the average.  Looking at numbers, GDD were respectively up 9.2% in June, 11.3% in July, 16.3% in August and 34.6% in September compared to the 2010-2020 average. 

Temperatures: don't stop at the general average

Knowing in detail the temperatures (min, max and avg) can help a lot to understand how the vines performed. At first sight, the average 2018 temperature does not differ much from decade average. A better understanding of what happened can be derived from the minimum and maximum temperatures. Starting from July, the temperatures grew consistently up to 38,3°C in August, while there wasn’t a similar variation in the minimum temperatures. Moreover, this hazardous trend continued in September (31.2°C) and October (22.4°C) with higher than average temperatures during days and nights.

Days and night temperature variation and rainfall

2018 was rainy, mostly in the first part of the season (winter and spring): March, April and May, registered respectively +53%, +18.9% and +45% more than the average. Summer was dry until the end of the growing season. In particular, there wasn’t enough water to balance the higher temperatures by the end of August and September. Rainfall  was concentrated in October, clearly representing a challenge for the harvest and arisky for bunches diseases. Diurnal variation was quite good, especially in August and September, helping to preserve the fragrance and the aromaticity of the grapes.

How stressed were the vines during 2018?

The SVI index – a Saturnalia exclusive – shows the variability within the Brunate MGA.  You can widely compare the various vintages from 2013 to 2018. For instance, the chart on the left shows a comparison of vintages 2016, 2017 and 2018 (you can enable the other 3 vintages if you like). The x-axis represents the Saturnalia Variation Index values (recap of the Saturnalia Evolution Index collected during the growing season) while the y-axis contains the raw count (how many times that value was counted within the area of interest). The more the curve is centred towards higher values (towards right), the more is the chlorophyll and less water-stressed is the plant. The wider the curve, the more the recorded behaviour is heterogeneous among the vineyards of the area of interest.

In our case:

  • the 2018 curve is wider than 2016 and similar to 2017; this means that more heterogeneity was recorded among the vineyards in Brunate. 2016 was more homogeneous.
  • 2018 was more stressful for the vines in respect of 2016 as the centre of the distribution is skewed towards the left. This can be explained by the warmer temperatures and lesser quantity of rain in August and September.
Summing up data

Thanks to the information on vegetation response and weather provided by satellites, we are able to stress some important key points about the quality of the grapes in Brunate and derived wines for vintage 2018: 

  • abundant rainfall in spring;
  • a very hot summer (grapes richer than usual in sugar), with a consequent water stress that was balanced by a quite good diurnal variation (important to preserve the grapes aromaticity);
  • The high temperatures and the lack of rainfall in August and- September, prevented the grapes from completing their phenological ripeness. Therefore, in the winemaking process, the maceration was reduced to avoid the extraction of slightly unripe tannins, both on the skins and in the seeds. Hence the resulting wines were often characterised by lighter tannins than usual for a Barolo.

Additional information

This section includes additional information based on the Saturnalia Evolution Index (SEI). Check our FAQ section if you want to know more about it.

The chart represents the SEI index compared against different vintages extracted from a sample in the Brunate area. The curve may differ within a single plot. The trend shows how the vines react to weather conditions, providing exclusive and very useful insights.  Focusing on the example shown:

  • the first peak (mid April) in vegetation activity can be explained by rainfall accumulated in the first part of the season (until mid of April);
  • the second peak (beginning of June) is again the push by precipitation from mid of May;
  • the third peak (beginning of July) should correspond to the beginning of the veraison, earlier than previous vintages

Value for money

Let’s now focus on prices of the wines produced in Brunate. They differ based on producers’ brand awareness. By looking at Liv-ex, Giuseppe Rinaldi stands out in terms of higher prices compared with the rest. It is also traded more than other peers on Liv-ex. 

The charts below respectively represent the Saturnalia Evolution Index (SEI) and Saturnalia Variation Index (SVI). 

The SEI allows us to see the differences among vineyards during the season. For example, we may highlight that samples from Francesco Rinaldi, Giuseppe Rinaldi and Roberto Voerzio show a similar behaviour. 

The SVI distributions represent a summary of the vintage and can be used to understand the variability among the producers’ parcels.

The chart should be interpreted by considering where the distribution is centred and how wide. As mentioned by looking at the SEI chart, Francesco Rinaldi, Giuseppe Rinaldi and Roberto Voerzio show a similar behaviour. However, the distribution shows that more variability was recorded among Francesco Rinaldi’s parcels. You may click on the legend to enable the other producers and compare by yourself.

Therefore,  Roberto Voerzio seems to be the preferable choice in terms of value for money among the others. Ceretto looks like an even better deal:

  • according to the critics, the expected quality should be 1-2 points lower than Giuseppe Rinaldi’s Barolo (you may notice the different distribution);
  • more liquid – meaning that more trading requests are made – in respect of Roberto Voerzio’s Barolo.

* prices related to 12×75 cases, expressed in pound sterling (£)


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