Our vintage finally got underway this week, with Syrah, Aragonez followed by vinha velha today. It rained for a few minutes last night and thunderstorms are threatened this afternoon. It was 33ºC at 3.30pm and as I write this I can see huge thunderclouds looming behind the serra. It is so parched here that a little rain won’t make any difference at all. The main risk is hail which wiped out a whole swathe of vineyard near Pinhel last week and at Celeirós in the upper reaches of the Pinhão Valley. I saw where the hail had hit at the weekend and there was barely a grape left on the vines. So far so good here: our fruit is ripe and healthy and we have good levels of acidity. It may be well a year for Pedra e Alma. I go through the vineyard with Rui tasting the grapes. Tomorrow we will pick Touriga Nacional which, despite a relatively low Baumé tastes sweet and ripe with a nice streak of acidity. With the vines so stressed, I don’t think the Touriga will ripen any more.
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