Vintage is now underway and, by all accounts, conditions are perfect. I say ‘by all accounts’ because, for the first time in 20 years I am missing out on vintage altogether. Our third child is due in six days time so I am swapping the Serra de São Mamede for the maternity ward of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. But at Quinta do Centro the crop is small but well formed although we have lost some Trincadeira grapes from the edge of the quinta to oidium. (One of my neighbours, probably a member of the near bankrupt co-operative, did not bother to treat his vines this year). The Trincadeira 2000 has now been picked and has yielded less than one 5,000 litre vat (about half of what we would normally expect). The old vine Trincadeira and Aragonez is being picked today followed by the Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon tomorrow.
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