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. Just like the bournes that are springing up on the chalk soils in southern England, we have streams in places that I have never seen before. The stone face of the cellar has become a waterfall and we have a small landslip partially blocking the way to the adega. I am a believer in the law of averages, so let us expect drought for the rest of the year.
Despite the bad weather we have managed to finish all the pruning in good time. With all the cloud laden skies of the last few weeks the vines are still dormant and some cold weather is forcast for the latter part of the week. It feels like mid-winter but the tell-tale optimism of spring in the air. It is Valentine’s day later this week and I see the storks pairing up I their high-rise nests.
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