With vintage coming to an end, we decide to hold our adiafa (the meal that you give to the workforce to mark the end of the vintage). I open a bottle of Pol Roger non-vintage to celebrate and it tastes especially good in the sticky late summer heat. Although many of the vats are still fermenting, I think we can be reasonably pleased with this year’s harvest in spite of the heat. The old vine fruit has performed the best, yielding full yet balanced reds, ripe with plenty of breadth. The younger vineyards have performed less well and with too much herbaceousness in the Trincadeira despite the high sugar level. Like so many in Portugal we have been forced to pick this year before the grapes are completely ripe. I speak to some colleagues in the Douro where I find that the situation is even more challenging than it has been here with temperatures as high as 43oC early last week. One winemaker tells me that he was receiving fruit (presumably Tinta Barroca) at 18 baumé! The Port shippers, who begin their harvest in earnest on Monday, have less to worry about than the Douro wine producers confronted by shrivelled raisinised grapes. At the end of the day our adega is totally full and we have no room for the remaining Touriga Nacional. We will have to start picking again on Monday. It goes to shownunca conta com o ovo no cu da galinha (a Portuguese expression which translates politely as ‘never count on the egg in the chicken’s bottom’.
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