I wake up to depressingly grey skies and driving drizzle. It looks as though the first of the deep Atlantic depressions is moving in early this year (although in England it appears they never left). A storm is forecast for tonight, which is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to the north of the country, just as they are beginning to pick in the Douro Superior. I am hoping that we might escape the worst of it.
Dinner at Monte de Cal, Fronteira; a huge new winemaking enterprise owned by Dão Sul. Although it is only 40km from Quinta do Centro it is another world and the landscape at sunset resembles the African savannah. We are served tordo (song thrush) which is delicious but criminal! I show Pedra Basta to a party of Brazilian restaurateurs and it held up well against another wine retailing for 30 euros.
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty