I heard the first first cuckoo of spring this morning whilst walking round the vineyard. The air is cool but the sunshine has warmth. The buildings still hold on to the deep cold of winter. So despite the bright spring sunshine and daytime temperatures of 18oC I go to bed at night with two hot water bottles, something that I never need to do in the UK. The vines are just starting to bud and the air feels full of hope at the start of a new growing season. The Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional are showing signs of life whereas the other varieties are still dormant. I have an opportunity to drink two of our new wines over lunch (Partridge Pie at Tomba Lobos). Pedra Basta Branco (white) 2015 has settled down well over the winter and will be bottled in May. The sub-tropical fruit character on the nose and palate is offset by beautiful natural acidity with length and persistence. A promising debut I think. Pedra e Alma 2013 which was bottled in November is still closed and a bit tight knit but shows great promise with its powerful focused and well-structured fruit. A vin de garde that will be released when it has had at least six months in bottle. There is still a small stock of the 2011 Pedra e Alma but only in the UK.
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