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. This year, provided the forecasters are right, we are expecting a couple of cool, damp overcast days before the sun returns and temeperatures go back to the 20s. In the evening we go to dinner at Sever and with an autumn feel in the air we dine on Arroz de Lebre (literally ‘hare rice’, hearty dish which is a great deal more appealing than it sounds in English).
For blind tasting Rui has a solid, rustic red with what must be 15% alc. by volume, which turns out to be a varietal Grand Noir from Reguengos de Monsaraz. We have some Grand Noir in the vineyard at Quinta do Centro but it is interplanted with other varieties and this is the first time I have tasted it as a varietal. The other wines are a good varietal Syrah from the Douro (Quinta do Noval’s Labrador 2012) and an impressive 2009 Alicante Bouschet from Vinobles Romains in the Aude (France) where this variety has all but disappeared. Three solid reds for a cold autumn evening.
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