When I arrived at the winery this morning it was cool and fresh, but with the promise of turning into another hot day. Paul stopped by the winery and told me the weather forecast continues to predict good weather although slightly cooler temperatures. ‘Slightly cooler’ when it has been near 40º C for a week is welcome news!
Arlindo had 25 pickers in the vineyard today and they did a good job sending 13,632 Kg of healthy Barroca grapes into the winery. They spent the morning finishing off block 79 and the rest of the day on block 83 – a large east facing block with mature vines planted in 1984.
Mariz and I went up to Block 83 to visit this afternoon just before the pickers were packing up at 5 o’clock. Having said hello and farewell we crossed the track to take a look at the neighbouring Touriga Franca block 86. The Touriga Franca, due to its late ripening, is invariably the last variety to be picked, so this parcel will only be picked in 10 to 12 days time. Mariz is of the opinion that the Franca this year has developed exceptionally well and if the good weather continues it could well be a ‘Franca year’.
My ears pricked up at this, because when the Franca is fully mature (which is not always the case) and gives 13.5 to 14.0 Baumé grapes it produces some fantastic floral and particularly violet scented wines – often some of the best of the harvest. We both tasted berries, which although full of flavour still need a little longer to fully mature.
We then went to take a close look at the Tinta Amarela which will follow the Barroca, probably tomorrow afternoon. The variety is perfectly ripe and as Alexandre said ‘Já pinta’ (literally, already coloured, meaning the skins are releasing good colour to the touch). Just look at his hand!
Busy day in the winery
The first Barroca lagar was sent down for fortification this morning and as the lagar was being run off I took a sample with marvellous purple colour.
We have a trainee with us in the adega this year, from British wine and spirits distributor Matthew Clark, named Lisa. Together we tasted the sample and I explained to her what we are typically looking for in the Barroca at this stage – rich and full aromas of red fruits such as cherry and raspberry.
The second lager will be fortified tonight around 2am – poor Fonseca and Juca! – and the third is being trodden this evening and will begin to ferment during the night.