After a very damp winter and a relatively cool spring we have had our first burst of heat with the thermometer rising close to 40oC for a couple of days earlier this month. I notice that a few exposed pea-sized berries have been scorched. At the start of summer however we a sitting under a depression with grey skies and temperatures back in the high teens. Thunderstoms threaten. It looks as though we have a good-sized crop this year. There is a bit of desavinho evident in one or two of the varieties but the berry set in Touriga Nacional (a variety very sensitive to desavinho) is nigh on perfect. Even the vinha velha looks to have a fairly sizable crop. There is plenty of vigour and we will have to perform a monda (green harvest) in those parts of the vineyard where yields look to be excessive (i.e. the younger Alicante Bouschet). But at the moment, with fingers crossed, everything looks very good in the vineyard.
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