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. The Alicante / Cabernet lote is fascinating, marked as it is by Cabernet fruit both on the nose and palate even though this is a 50/50 blend with the Alicante meatiness underlying. Good blending wine. The Trincadeira has suffered the most as a result of the rain during vintage and looks a bit lightweight. Still, it is fresh and fruit driven, quite expressive but needs handling with care when it comes to making the final blend. We have six new Ermitage barrels containing the potential Pedra e Alma and, despite having been picked after the rain, looks tight-knit and dense with ripe, well-structured tannins. The rain may even have done the wine a favour because it is not overblown. Then we have put aside a few casks of Syrah / Viognier with the thought of making a Pedra Basta special edition (name yet to be decided). These vines are now 8 years old and are producing ever better wine. We picked the Syrah / Viognier first, before the rain, and I was very impressed with the wine straight after fermentation. It is now in 2nd year oak and i has settled down well with a fine, linear character and good gravelly tannins. Closed in on the nose, the fruit needs more time to express itself. We need to start thinking of a name for this as a possible one off Pedra Basta – suggestions gratefully received!
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