After a cool, wet spring, we have a week of summer heat with temperatures suddenly up in the high 30s (at much the same time as last year). The heat always seems to be on when we have important visitors. Yesterday we received the buyers from Fields Morris & Verdin, our new UK importers and they were somewhat incredulous when I said that we have a relatively cool climate in Portalegre. It was too hot to walk round the vineyard but the vines are looking very healthy after the winter rain and we are heading for a good crop of grapes this year. Most of the varieties are in balance without the excess that we have had in previously when the start to the year has been wet (viz 2010). The only variety that we may have to crop thin is Touriga Nacional. We have, I think, a very successful final lote of 2010 Pedra Basta which Rui and I put together on Monday. Marked a little less by oak than the 2009, it is full, firm and quite profound with good depth and length. The final blend of Pedra e Alma 2011 is also looking very promising and we hope to bottle it later in the summer with a view to having the wine on sale for Christmas.
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