Over these last few days picking has continued under perfect weather with maximum daytime temperatures climbing just above 30°C (32°C on Thursday), making it feel very much like summer. The cool mornings and cold nights, though, remind us that autumn has arrived. Not a single drop of rain has fallen since the 13th and since starting the vintage on the 19th the absence of rain and the prevailing constant hot temperatures have favoured the final ripening of the Touriga Nacional, which has been picked through this week at both Tua and Malvedos. Henry believes that some of the best wines of this vintage began to be made after last weekend’s picking pause, vindicating Charles’s decision to allow the Touriga Nacional a few more days’ ripening on the vines.
The weather forecast indicates continuing dry, sunny conditions which are exactly what is required for the Touriga Franca to be picked through the coming week. On Thursday, Charles, Alexandre and Henry did their rounds of the Malvedos and Tua vineyards to finalise the picking order of the remaining Touriga Nacional vineyards and to determine which Touriga Franca vineyards will be harvested first. We will start harvesting the Franca from Monday morning at Malvedos and finish with the youngest plantings of the variety at Tua, possibly by the end of the week if all goes according to plan.
On Friday, the remaining Sousão from Malvedos was brought into the winery and was co-fermented with the Touriga Nacional; this grape variety combination in the lagares has given very good results over these last few years, the Sousão’s good acidity marrying well with the Touriga Nacional’s concentration and intensity.
Visitors continue to call at Malvedos and this week, Isabel Monteiro, the market manager who looks after Ireland brought some very good-humoured Irish visitors from Graham’s importer and distributor, Findlater. Besides helping out unloading the Touriga Nacional at grape reception on Wednesday afternoon, they brought some beers around on Thursday, enjoyed by all the team after the day’s busy picking schedule was concluded.
On Thursday our colleagues from the IT department, headed by Manuela Caldeira, called at Malvedos to check on the connectivity in the house and winery. This vintage, things have been working without a hitch, probably due in part to the absence of thunderstorms. Henry showed Manuela, Isabel and Bruno around the winery, from grape reception, through to vinification and the lodge where the newly made wines are stored.