It has taken nearly two months to prune the vineyard this year. The weather has been so wet that our team of eight pruners have not been able to get into the vineyard for days, sometimes a week at a time. The rain has been relentless since early December. Streams are full to overflowing, and the barragem on the Quinta is overflowing. There is water standing in the vineyard where I have never seen it before – everything is saturated. It has been the wettest winter in Lisbon since 1860 (where the records go back that far) and Madeira received nearly 500mm in just one month with devastating consequences. I was in the supermarket yesterday and all customers are being asked to round up their bills at the check out to support the victims of the flooding in Madeira. Locally I notice that many of the roads are cracking up. Signs have appeared, many of them looking ominously permanent, with the warning piso em mau estado (surface in a bad state). It is hard to see how the local authorities are going to find the money to repair all the roads built with EU support in the early 1990s. A few tiles have been blown off the roof of the adega and water is gushing out of the rockface in the cellar so it looks as though I will have to spend some money. More rain is forecast tomorrow and again later in the week. There is no let up from this miserable winter.
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