Torrential rain (as forecast) today as a deep depression moves in from the Atlantic, so vintage is on hold until tomorrow. There is going to be a let up tomorrow followed by more rain early next week if the forecast is correct. So far most people I have talked to have nearly finished harvesting (even up in the Douro) but we still have about a thirsd of our crop to pick. The Alicante Bouschet cold do with a few more days to ripen but the rest of thr Trincadeira needs to be picked fairly quickly now that the rain is falling.
My Vineyard Blog September 2013
There is a good smell emananting from the adega today. With the cooler air tempeatures, an aroma of fresh, clean fermenting fruit hits you before you even walk in through the door. Much of this is coming from our Trincadeira which was crushed yesterday and has just begun to ferment. It has a potential alcohol of 14% (about right) and a pH of 3.5 which suggests a very nicely balanced wine. I tasted the must at the end of the day and it shows good colour and none of the herbacousness that we often get from Trincadeira here in the serra. I am quite optimistic.
A change in the weather today. I woke this morning to find heavy grey cloud hanging over the serra. It is so much cooler and it even feels a bit autumnal, much to the relief of the pickers who began this morning at daybreak. Today we are picking Trincadeira and in the nick of time I think. The grapes look good with only minimal rasinisation in the places where they are most exposed. The weather forecast is now giving rain showers for the middle of the week with the thermometer falling to 17oC on Friday when there will be heavy rain.
An interesting meeting today with representatives of ATEVA - Associação Técnica dos Viticultores do Alentejo who are in the Serra de São Mamede collecting plant material from old vines. There are not that many old vineyards left in the Alentejo and the fragmented holdings around us here in the Serra de São Mamede are a treasure trove of old varieties. It seems that in the past the serra has been a confluence of different influences with grape varieties from the north, south and Spain coming together in the same place, often jumbled up in the same vineyard.
The first day of autumn and it still feels like mid-summer. The thermomenter has been in the low to mid-thirties today and the air is still unseasonably warm, even into the night. We have now picked all the young vine Aragonez and we move onto Trindcadeira on Tuesday. At the moment the summer weather is set to continue until next Friday when heavy rain is forecast. We had better take a good look at the old vines now where we also have a fair amount of Trincadeira alongside Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Aragonez and some other unidentifiable varieties.
I arrived here yesterday, heavily constipado (with a head cold) after a week of distinctly depressing autumnal weather in the UK. The harvest began here at the start of the week and by the end of the day today we will have four cubas (vats) fermenting. If anything it is too hot with the thermometer climbing to 33oC today and no let up in sight. Unlike the Douro where there was a timely dousing a couple of weeks ago, we have had no rain to speak of since the spring.
I attended the most fabulous dinner tonight at the The Banqueting House in Whitehall to celebrate 60 Years of the Institute of Master's of Wine. We began by drinking Bollinger from magnums in the undercroft (the drinking den of James I) then climbed the stairs to dine below a ceiling painted by Rubens. It was all rather magnificent including the wines: among the line up were Chateau Margaux 1999, Ridge Monte Bello 1990, Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron 1988 and Cockburn’s 1955 Vintage Port.
An inauspicious day for some, but thankfully we are on the cusp of vintage. The weather has been kind (although a shower of rain would have been welcome) and the thunderstorms threatened this weekend seem unlikely to materialise. We will begin by picking the young vines on Monday, starting with Aragonez, then Syrah / Viognier followed by Touriga Nacional. The only problem I face is that due to the funeral of a close family friend in Wales next Wednesday, I am stuck in distinctly autumnal North Derbyshire. I did however visit a local vineyard last week.