We taste through the 11 barrels that will make up the lote for Pedra e Alma 2009. All the wine comes from the same thirty year old vines (a mix of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir) and the barrels are all new French oak but from different producers and with different levels of toast. There is a real difference between Seguin Moreau (restrained), convection toasted barrels from a Chilean manufacturer, Odysé (broader tannins, more structure) and Taransaud (fresher, showing more acidity).
My Vineyard Blog May 2011
Lunch at Sever, Marvão. We are served a seasonal dish called Ervilhas Tortas(‘Twisted Peas’). Basically this is a casserole of locally grown mange tout withchouriço, poached egg and plenty of olive oil. It sounds rustic but it is delicious and it went well with the first showing of Duas Pedras 2009 which is now in bottle. This wine is looking very good indeed, fresh, fragrant and packed with supple yet sappy fruit. The floral Touriga does not dominate the blend and sits well with the Syrah. There is no notion of the vines being just three years old in 2009.
There will be no shortage of rain here this year. Heavy rain again this week, the barragem is brim-full and the rivers are torrents. With thunder growling nearby over the plains, I take an hour to walk round the vineyard in warm sunshine. Fortunately there is no sign of disease. The corner of the vineyard most susceptible to oidium has been sprayed and a cool, drying wind from off the serra is helping to ventilate the vine canopy. But we have standing water in lower lying parts of the vineyard, especially where there is soil compaction and poor drainage.
I have been reluctant to submit any of our wines to competitions until this year. Not only am I rather sceptical about some wine competitions, I have also been serving since 2004 as Regional Chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards for Portugal, Port and Madeira. This year I have had to give up on chairing Portugal, simply due to the fact that there are now so many entries that it is now impossible for me to taste so many wines in the space of a week.