23 September Malvedos Winery Update

Late afternoon sun on the Malvedos winery receiving area and mountains upriver

This morning when I got to the winery at 07:15 it was slightly overcast with some low cloud and a cool breeze, which made me think the weather was about to change. However by 10:30 the cloud had disappeared and the sun was back for what turned out to be another warm day’s picking.

Vineyard update

Arlindo and his team of 24 were picking the Nacional all day. They finished blocks 4 and 5 at the top of the Quinta and then moved to 97 and 88 two parcels lower down and on the eastern side of the Quinta (see map).

Winery Update

Watching the river go by between grape deliveries

It was a relatively quiet day at the winery so not a great deal to tell.  Now that we are on the Touriga Nacional, the picking team takes much longer to send down a load of grapes, since cutting so many small bunches is naturally slower work and fills the bins more slowly than when they are cutting larger bunches.  We fortified the last lagar of Tinta Roriz just before lunch and are now filling the third lagar of Touriga Nacional.

It was even a quiet day for visitors, only Rupert came round for a quick visit to the winery after lunch with Dan Shorrocks and Doug Goldsby from our Canadian agent in British Columbia, Mark Anthony Wine Merchants. Rupert and I showed them the Nacional lagares and we tasted some of the new 2011 wines.

We are working a night shift tonight while a major football match, Porto vs Benfica, is being played for the National league.  I am transmitting the game on the radio very loudly for all to hear and the winery team is roughly divided 50/50 between the two teams. It’s now 2-2 in the second half and the night has been punctuated by a lot of shouting!

2011 Vintage – 1st Week’s Summary

Vineyards looking northeast from behind the house at Malvedos

As we are now one week into the Vintage I would just like to make a short summary of what has happened here at Quinta do Malvedos and my feeling regarding the quality of the 2011 harvest so far.

Since we began the harvest on the 15th September we have picked all the Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Roriz and are now working on the Touriga Nacional.

This is now my 12th Vintage at Malvedos and I must say that the 2011 grapes are some of, if not the best grapes that I have ever seen coming into the winery.  It has been evident from the colour and aroma of the fermenting musts that we are looking at an exceptional year which will produce superb wines.

Touriga Nacional arriving at the winery

The rain of the 1st and 2nd September was the icing on the cake, fine tuning the maturation, and could not have been better timed, having made a major impact on the wines made at this harvest.  It allowed the vines to absorb the water and the grapes to swell and the skins to soften.  As a result Charles decided to delay picking from what previously looked like an early starting Vintage. Despite the obvious risks associated with this decision it has played out very much in our favour and the stunning weather day after day since then has allowed the sugars in the berries to concentrate again, while the skins have remained soft and perfect for extracting colour and flavour.  When picking began on the 15th the grapes were therefore in absolutely perfect condition.

Touriga Nacional in the lagar, not even halfway through fermentation showing wonderful colour and aroma

The Touriga Nacional in particular is looking exceptional this year.  The unprecedented low yields I have noted, with the low skin to juice ratio is allowing even more extraction of colour and flavours which will no doubt contribute to the concentration of the wines produced.

Mariz has told me that temperatures may cool tomorrow and Saturday but that the forecast for the next 10 days remains steady.  This is very good news!

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