September and October 2008 Douro Insider

The final stretch of a remarkable agricultural year brought similar patterns to those we had been experiencing almost from the start.  It was cool and it was very dry.  But the weather differed from the rest of the year in one critical aspect too – in that the months of unsettled or overcast weather finally gave way to one long, calm spell of perfect harvesting weather, with day after day of bright sun, clear skies and not even a whisper of a breeze.  Without a doubt this serene autumn saved the harvest.  It had been a difficult year thus far, and the potential for a disastrous vintage was looming ominously.  Had it rained significantly all would have been lost, and another year like 2002 would have ensued.  As it turned out, we were blessed by an excellent harvest.  If any criticism could be made, it would be that some rain right at the start of September brought about dilution of sugars and, especially, acidity.  This of course had to be corrected in the winery.  Unfortunately there was none of the intensely hot weather required to initiate dehydration – a factor which is essential for producing really concentrated wines.  Phenolically the skins were also a little hard to start with, although they understandably softened up as the vintage progressed. Full Report

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