Today is officially the first day of autumn and it is raining heavily in Lisbon though no rain fell in Portalagre. Listening to the radio in the car this morning they reported that this summer has been the second hottest in Portugal for the last eighty years (they didn’t say which was the hottest). We are now just over halfway through vintage. Yesterday we picked enough Touriga Nacional to fill a balseiro (vat) which came out at 13.5 baumé, much the same as on our grape sample analysis at the end of last week. This is the problem that many growers still face – the grapes have stopped ripening and there seems no point in waiting any longer. There huge swathes of vineyard down in Beja, the hottest part of Portugal, still waiting to be picked and the sugar levels seem to be stuck. Many adegas have run out of space than there is big demand for more vats for storage. Yesterday afternoon I tasted all the wines we have made so far. The young vine Aragonez is light, soft and fruit driven. The Syrah/Viognier is dark, firm and very promising for such young vines (planted in 2006). This year’s Trincadeira is fresh, firm and fruit driven with some promising structure and depth. The old vine Trincadeira and Aragonez is now in new oak (Seguin Moreau and Saury) and tastes firm, fine and focused with good concentration but it perhaps lacks the weight of the 2009 for which I have high hopes of a Pedra e Alma.
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