18 September Malvedos Winery Update

Perfect harvest weather continues, with temperatures still warm but more bearable than last week

At 07:15 it was cooler than yesterday morning and there was some scattered white cloud about, but with plenty of blue sky still visible.  During the day it continued slightly cooler with a refreshing breeze and the clouds dispersed.

Vineyard update

Arlindo has only 20 pickers today, 5 down on yesterday.  The reason is because it’s Sunday, although it’s easy to forget as the days just seem to blend one into the other now, and some of the pickers have not shown up because they prefer to spend the day at home with the family or go to church.  This is something that happens every year and we just have to learn to live with it.

East facing Barroca near top of the quinta

Today we picked the last of the Barroca which this harvest has given us 4 full lagares of healthy grapes.  I have had a look at the yields and the Barroca, which accounts for 18% of the vineyard area yielded on average a low 1.2 Kg per vine. The Malvedos Barroca is planted in three different areas and distinct aspects, one high East facing, one high South facing and some North facing parcels. As one would expect given the recent hot sunny days, the South facing vineyards which are subject to more sunlight exposure are the ones which on average gave the lowest yields for the variety.  For example blocks blocks 81 and 60 produced only 0.4 and 0.6 Kg per vine respectively!  These low yields will I feel produce some very structured and full bodied Barroca wines in 2011.

Winery map, which we colour in as we make progress

We track our progress on a vineyard map in the winery every year, see photo, where the Barroca parcels are now coloured in black, to show they have been picked and vinified.  Another version of this map is available in the Galleries / Quinta dos Malvedos page.

To put this in context, here in the Douro on average, we get 1 kilo of grapes per vine, which will make one bottle of Port.  Compare this to areas like Champagne where 4 kilos of grapes per vine is the norm, and you begin to understand the difficulties and economics of this mountain region.

Today I consulted with Charles and we decided based on our recent vineyard visits that tomorrow we would fill a mixed variety lagar of Tinta Amarela old vines (1984) from Malvedos whose concentrated grapes will mix very well with some younger vine Touriga Nacional from Quinta do Tua that will contribute freshness and good acidity.  Following this we will move back Malvedos and begin the Tinta Roriz.

Winery update

Lisa (top) and Pedro shovelling out the last of the skins from the tank after running off

Another Barroca was fortified this afternoon. In order to free up lagar space for treading more grapes, what we sometimes do at Malvedos is pump the must from a lagar in the final stages of fermentation to a tank in the winery below where it will finish the fermentation and be fortified in the normal manner. At the end of the process the last of the skins have to be removed from the tank by hand to be then pumped to the press.

This is one of the toughest jobs and hot work despite the extractor fan in the tank. Understandably this is not the most popular job in the winery; however despite this Lisa cheerfully volunteered to help Pedro and got stuck in with a spade much to the surprise of some of the lads who agreed to stand her a couple of beers later at the Calça Curta!

We now have in the winery 2 fortified lagares of Barroca, 1 mid-way through its fermentation, and one undergoing its 4 hour treading.

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