There is a Portuguese saying that goes ‘no dia de São Martinho vai à adega e prova o teu vinho’ (on St Martin’s Day go to the winery and taste your wine). There is some sense in this as by São Maritinho (11th November) your wines are likely to have gone through malo-lactic and they are ready to assess. So this morning I was in the adegaand I did just that; I tasted all our wines from the 2011 vintage. I can report that they are looking good and some are very good. The weakest, as I expected, was the Trincadeira from the younger vines which we harvested a bit too early in retrospect. It is elegant but rather too light and short. (I have love-hate relationship with this grape which is fast turning to hate–hate!). The Alicante Bouschet (2003 vines) on the other hand is wonderful; dark, fresh, vibrant with lovely depth and structure. The Aragonez from the young vines (2006) isn’t bad either, fresh, aromatic, attractive if a little lacking in depth. The Syrah /Touriga Nacional / Viognier, now blended and in the same vat, is dark, already delicious and well structured. It will make a wonderful Duas Pedras 2011. The best wines come from my old vines with the Aragonez still showing signs of the malo-lactic on the nose but tastes firm and four-square with good ripe tannins. Our best wine without doubt is the old vine Alicante Boushet / Grand Noir / Trincadeira blend which has a wonderfully fresh, vibrant aroma, shows sweet ripe fruit and broad ripe tannins. A certain candidate for Pedra e Alma 2011 I think.
This afternoon, forgetting all about São Martinho, I went to the chemist in Castelo de Vide where I was offered roasted chestnuts and a glass of their homemade liqueur. I politely refused the liqueur but the lady pharmacist was most insistent and handed me a glass nonetheless. So I quickly downed this sweet, green liqueur made from under-ripe walnuts and I left the chemist feeling a bit wobbly but much better than when I went in!
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