It was a cool morning when I arrived at the winery at 07:30, with a clear blue sky which turned into another perfect warm day for picking.
Picking continued all day at Sibio vineyard where the old vine field blend is producing some excellent looking grapes giving 13.8 Baumé. Charles observed that Sibio has old, low-yielding vines and excellent terroir. We have had good wines from this vineyard in the past, and look forward to seeing how the wines develop now that we have the management of the vineyards in our own hands. We will continue picking from Sibio tomorrow, and expect to hear from Charles again shortly to discuss the picking order for the weekend and next week.
It was a busy day today at the winery what with receiving grapes, transferring wine, and a fortification. After the fortification, the wine was run off into a tonel and Tiago had the job of shoveling out the remains of the cap (pips and skins) from the fortification tank.
Today we put our first finished Ports (two lagares of Barrocas) into the tonels in the old part of the Malvedos winery where they will remain until December or January when they will be racked. Charles is very pleased with the Barrocas, the grapes were ripe and in very good condition – this is a variety that handles low water conditions very well – though this year the yields were tiny, only about half of our usual harvest.
Every year when the finished wines are moved down to Graham’s Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia, we leave a little bit of wine in the bottom of the cask to “keep it sweet” until the next harvest. Prior to putting any new wine into the tonels it is extremely important to smell each one to check they are in perfect condition, as any ‘suspect’ aromas in the tonel could ruin a whole lagar of wine if it is put in there.
Harry and Tom took to this task enthusiastically and pronounced them all to be okay! Harry’s father, Paul Symington, once said that one of his earliest memories was of watching his father check the tonels – nice to see another generation taking up the responsibility. The first to be filled was Nº 20523 which must be one of the oldest in the winery, as it is dated from 1903.
By six o’clock it was time for a well earned beer!