Supermarkets love wine. Unlike heavily branded products (soap powder or razor blades for example), the wine sector is very fragmented. It means that no one knows what the bottle they are drinking is really worth. Hence in the UK there are all these eye-catching ‘better than half price’ deals where a little known wine is sold for a stratospherically expensive price for a few weeks before being reduced back to something like its real value. It is a con.
My Vineyard Blog February 2014
An early start to assess our wines from 2013. It is always best to taste before a meal when your senses are at their sharpest. Against the sound of rushing water I taste from cask to cask, tank to tank. The wines are very cold and one 5,000 vat is still to complete its malolactic and tastes a bit spritzy as a result. It’s still early days! Our Duas Pedras blend is already made up: fresh and sappy as it should be, it still needs time to show. I reserve judgement until later in the spring. The potential Pedra Basta is in two lotes.
It is the time of year when it is colder indoors than out. Portuguese buildings have an ability to store the cold and damp, transferring it to your bones. This winter I have invested in a pair of Doc. Martens, not the bovver boot kind but a pair of demure waxed shoes with the famous AirWair soles. This morning in the adega everyone is complaining of cold feet but I feel well insulated from the penetrating damp. A very good buy!
The flooding in the south of England has made international headlines but Portugal is drenched too. I have never seen the rivers so full, including the Ribeira de Seda (‘Silk Stream’) which rises in the Serra de São Mamede and flows into the Baragem de Maranhão near Avis. Normally a just trickle, it is today (after another day of torrential rain) a café-au-lait coloured torrent. When I reach the quinta, there is the sound of water gushing everywhere. There is standing water where I have never seen it before and even the upper slopes of the vineyard are saturated.
After constant travelling back and forth for the first nine months of 2013 I resolved to stay put from mid-October whilst keeping in regular contact with our importers and customers. I must say that the time has been well spent and I don’t miss the queuing in airports, baggage restrictions, lack of legroom and the general hassle and time wasting that goes with international travel these days. But I am rather looking forward to escaping to Portugal next week.