At 07:00 an overcast morning with moderate temperatures, which continued throughout the day. These conditions – bright overcast and mild warm temperatures – are perfect for ripening the Touriga Franca.
Today the pickers polished off the last of the Malvedos Touriga Nacional and we filled the remainder of the lagar with Tinta Amarela, which we were also able to pick entirely this afternoon.
As previously mentioned we are suspending the picking over the weekend and will re-commence next Monday 1st October. Because of the rain we experienced last Sunday and Tuesday it was felt that we needed a pause before picking our Touriga Franca grapes (a significant proportion of the vineyard at Malvedos) at their ideal maturity. There is of course always a risk of more rain, but as the weather forecast predicts clear weather for the next fortnight, we felt this was a risk worth taking which will certainly pay off in terms of greater phenolic ripeness and concentration of the sugars.
Charles was here today accompanied by Euan Mackay (Sales Director) and we visited all the Touriga Franca parcels in both Malvedos and Tua in order to determine the picking order for when we restart the vintage on Monday. Based on tasting berries and the softness of the skins (and their readiness to impart colour) it was decided to begin with the Touriga Franca from Tua on Monday, then on Tuesday to pick the remaining Tinta Roriz at Malvedos, mixed with an old Vinha Velha plot from Tua, before moving to the Malvedos Touriga Franca on Wednesday next week – with the objective of having everything picked and in the winery by next weekend.
This evening we had a night shift, and Juca was kind enough grill some chouriços for us, which we enjoyed with a cold beer at the end of the shift.
Review of the 2012 Wines So Far
We also took advantage of Charles’s visit to taste all the wines that we have made so far. He felt that generally speaking the wines have good colour, a balanced acidity, and a unique freshness in comparison to some other years, which is due to cooler temperatures and fewer raisins.
All the wines had the same inky dark colour, which was an opaque purple, and the Barrocas and Nacionals were particularly intense.
The Barrocas expressed a powerful black berry aroma with a structured, velvety and almost overpowering richness. The blend of Barroca and Mistura Casta (a vineyard planted with a mixture of Douro varieties) was earthier in character with a slightly drier and more elegant finish. The pure Mistura Casta wines demonstrated the rich and concentrated fruit flavours of old vine mixed planting. Finally, the Nacionals (one each from Malvedos and Tua) exhibited vibrant aromas of dark fruits such as blackberries and floral hints of violets and nuances of peppery spice.