We filled our last vat with grapes yesterday, Syrah and Touriga Nacional for Duas Pedras, which came in a 14 baumé and pH 3,57. Ideal. This has been a near perfect harvest and I only wish that we could make more wine in a year like this. For those still picking, the weather is ideal with temperatures in the mid-20s, clear skies and a cool north wind blowing. It looks to stay that way for the next week at least. Last night we held our adiafa, a 'thank you' dinner given to those who have helped us with the harvest.
My Vineyard Blog September 2015
The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky today. A cool north wind is blowing through the vineyards, drying out the vines. Having dipped last night to single figures, the thermometer is back in the low 20s. In short this is perfect harvest weather. The Touriga Nacional is still below 13 baumé so we will give it another few days to ripen before resuming the harvest on Tuesday.
The equinox always brings atmospeheric instability to Portugal. Yesterday a virulent storm hit the north of Portugal and brought wind and heavy rain to us overnight. This morning the Serra is shrouded in grey cloud and temperatures are down in the low teens. We have stopped picking. Interestingly, as I said in my last posting, it was about the same day last year when the first rains fell and then the rain never stopped.
The heat came early this year and thankfully we have enjoyed moderate temperatures despite the continuing drought. Yesterday, with the sun still shining, we are picked the first red grapes, Syrah and Viognier, followed by the vinha velha (old vines) today and tomorrow. Sugar levels (and therefore potential alcohol) are not that high as yet this year (13- 14 baumé) but the grapes taste ripe and that is a good basis to pick. The first Atlantic depression of the autumn is forecast to hit us mid-week so it makes good sense to gather the best, early ripening grapes befoe the rain.
To London for the launch of the fourth edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine at the wonderful Vinoteca near St Pancras Station. I contribute the entries covering Port and Madeira having relinquished coverage of Portugal ten years ago when I started producing wine myself. It was a gathering of editors and contributors from near and far and we all found ourselves sharing our experiences, many of us having been in on the project from the start in 1994.