There are no lemons on our tree this year. I usually rely on two trees near the adega to provide me with enough fruit to make my liver-cleansing cup of lemon tree in the morning. But the warm, dry weather in late September, and October caused the flowers to wither and fall to the ground. Although we had some substantial rain this weekend the clouds have now cleared and a dry and sunny week is forecast. Thebarragem is nearly empty and a number of my neighbours are without water, their springs having dried up. This dry, settled autumn has left us with a riot of colour and in the vineyard different varieties and can be distinguished from each other by their respective autumnal shade. The Alicante Bouschet is a deep, dark maroon. I walk through the vineyard at sunset tasting the netas or 'grandchildren' (so called because they are the grapes from the second flowering). Left unpicked in September, these are now sweet and ripe without the usual rot that you would expect by November. There is not quite enough for a late harvest.
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