Half-way through vintage

Exceptionally hot today: 35oC and airless. We are about half-way through vintage and we have stopped picking. Most of the vinha velha has been harvested and is in the lagar. It is almost certainly our best fruit so far and with a baumé of 14.5 it looks very promising with good colour and already a hint of structure and tannin even though it has only just started fermenting. The Syrah is looking very promising and on Friday we start on the Touriga Nacional for Duas Pedras leaving the bulk of the Alicante Bouschet, some old vine Aragonez and the Cabernet Sauvignon for next week. We have a really good team in the adega this year. Alongside Luís Garcia who takes time off from his delivery job to work tirelessly (along with 19 year old Samuel) bringing grapes into the winery, we have a young Portuguese winemaker called André Pimentel Barbosa who has already had plenty of vintage experience at Quinta do Vallado and Quinta do Noval in the Douro as well as in Chile. He is the most knowledgeable and conscientious source of help we have had during any vintage so far. We also have Gabriella who has come over to Europe from Argentina for the first time to gain some vintage experience. She also has her own Malbec vineyard, Luján de Cuyo, in Mendoza. Despite the heat and hard work, everyone seems good humoured today except for me. Perhaps it is because I enjoyed what we call ‘Alicante Bouschet moment’ with Peter Bright last night at his winery in Fronteira!