I opened the winery at 07:05 this morning and it’s a wonderful part of the day, very quiet. It’s still only half light and you can see on the neighbouring hillsides the odd tractor and lorry with their headlights on picking their way through the vineyard tracks to work.
The harvest team currently begin at 07:00 and finish at 16:30, however from next week, with the diminishing early morning light, they will move to a 07:30 to 17:00 schedule. By 07:30 today it was fully light and the blue sky promised another warm clear day.
I just heard on the radio that September on average has been the hottest month of the year – hotter than July and August! It comes as no surprise given the consistently warm, clear weather we have been experiencing since the Vintage began.
Arlindo and his team of 24 finished the Malvedos Touriga Nacional just before lunch and moved over to the Quinta do Tua Nacional which they finished late in the afternoon. Tomorrow they begin on the Tua Touriga Franca which is likely to take all day before they move back to the Malvedos Franca on Thursday the day after tomorrow.
Charles was here today and we took an hour and a half going round all the Touriga Franca blocks in the Quinta in order to define the perfect picking order. This attention to detail is what making great wines is all about. The Franca is really full of flavour this year with soft thin skins and now at perfect maturity to be picked.
As we began tasting grapes in the Touriga Franca blocks 58-59-64 near the entrance to Quinta dos Malvedos (see map) Charles commented “This is the best Franca I have tasted this year”. He was really pleased! (Note from Cynthia: later, tasting his way through another parcel, I heard him saying, “This just gets better by the minute…” !)
We filled the 5th lagar of Nacional during the course of the day and this will be the last one of the Vintage. From here on it will be just Touriga Franca.
Charles also tasted the most recently made wines including the first Nacional lagar (mentioned in yesterday’s post), which he liked a lot due to exuberance of fruit, freshness and off the scale purple colour that even stained the empty glass.
The other excitement at the winery today was a visit from Mr. Fix-It. The selection carpet had a mechanical problem this morning which meant that we could not unload grapes into the crusher – big problem! We had to call David ‘pronto’ to fix it and luckily he was in the vicinity. With his fast BMW GS 1200 bike he was with us in no time to sort out the problem. Fixing things quickly during the Vintage is of the essence as delays often grind everything to a halt and could be detrimental to quality.