It was another cool morning with a bright blue sky as I opened the winery. A small fishing boat was out on the river when I arrived at 07:15, taking its catch back to Tua.
Early in the morning I went to have another look at the Touriga Nacional blocks that we were set to pick during the course of the day once the Tinta Roriz was finished. I’m really glad I did as one of the Nacional parcels looked and tasted in such perfect condition that we decided after all to make a separate fermentation just of these grapes which will make something really special on their own. This is the kind of flexibility that is essential during harvest, as we continue to assess the grapes every day and modify picking orders and winemaking plans to get the best out of every parcel.
The last load of Roriz came in at 11:30 and the pickers then moved to the Touriga Nacional for the rest of the day, and will continue tomorrow. Lisa joined the pickers in the afternoon, and by dinner time decided even shovelling out fermentation tanks was preferable to cutting grapes in the hot sun.
We now have two Roriz lagares fermenting and just after lunch fortified the combined Tinta Amarela / Touriga Nacional lagar which continues with excellent colour. It was a hot afternoon and the cooling system built into our lagares was essential to control the fermentation of the sun-warmed grapes we received.
Eric and Henri Stoffelsen, who own a fine wine and cheese shop in Putten, Holland and are fans of Graham’s Ports, came to visit the winery and were just in time to see the first of the Touriga Nacional arriving. I showed them the small bunches of thick skinned berries that were perfectly ripe to the touch. The Nacional, given its exceptional state of maturity, will surely produce some the best wines of the 2011 Vintage here at Malvedos.
They were very interested in the whole winemaking process, saying that now they had seen it first hand it would be much easier to explain to their customers all about Port. They gave us a cheese from their shop which I am sure the winery team will all enjoy after dinner.