I have just returned from a weekend in the Douro where harvest is just getting underway. Most people began picking yesterday but a few quintas were already picking last week. It has not been an easy year due to the warm, wet spring and those growers that failed to treat their vines regularly and at the right time have little or no crop to speak of. Total production will be down, perhaps by as much as 30 or 40% but the quality is looking good.
My Vineyard Blog September 2016
There is a bottling party here today. Rock music is blaring out bottling line, cutting through the still rain-laden air. All hands are diverted from the vineyard to the mobile bottling line where we are bottling Pedra Basta 2013. I tasted the final lote wine just before bottling and it looks very good, very much in the style of previous Pedra Basta wines but deliberately less marked by oak than 2011. (We bypassed 2012). The tannins are good, broad and ripe and the wine is characterised by the freshness which is our hallmark here in the Serra de São Mamede.
It is 8am and the pickers are gathering for the first day of vintage at Quinta do Centro. The temperature is 10 ºC with a cool north wind blowing off the Serra and light clouds scudding through the blue sky. (It was 34ºC in the UK yesterday!) We had a little rain overnight and rather heavier rainfall around dawn yesterday so it is time to start picking the Trincadeira, our most tetchy grape variety. Trincadeira starts to rot from within the bunch almost as soon as it rains and the risk is even greater this year after the hot, dry late summer.
I have not been blogging this summer, not from the lack of anything to write but because of continual internet / IT problems and (though no connection) my website has been redesignd and rebuilt. We are now on the cusp of vintage after a long hot summer. I have learnt never to make predictions after 2014 but at the moment we have a good crop of ripe, healthy grapes on the vine. The heat is continuing and yesterday it was 41oC in Portalegre.