After a very dry winter we have has some rain at last. The thermometer rose into the 20s in March but has now fallen back to 12oC today. It has been raining on and off since the end of last week so, as they say here ‘Abril, aguas mil’ (April brings water in thousands!). It is not enough to fill the barragem, which is almost half empty, but at least it has given the surface a reasonable soaking. I am up here with my two boys, Edward and Jamie. We take a walk around the vineyard being careful not to step on ant’s nests. The vines are bursting forth apart from the Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that have only achieved bud burst this week. Although it is cool here it is cloudy and there is no prospect of frost that would be very damaging to the young shoots at this stage. Back in the winery we tasted all our wines from last year. All are showing well after the cold winter, especially the vinha velha which is now in cask and has the makings of Pedra e Alma. Speaking of which the Pedra e Alma 2009 is now labelled and ready for export, the first consignment having reached the UK this week. It has closed down a little since it was bottled last autumn but it has the makings of an excellent wine to lay down for ten years, may be more. The new label designed by Barlow Doherty in London matches the prestige of the wine.
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