It is clear morning here at Malvedos with no cloud and a blue sky, but it’s quite fresh at 07:30. I’m in shirtsleeves and there is definitely an autumnal chill in the air. As the day progressed it became a warm rather than hot day.
This morning Charles, Pedro Leal da Costa, Alexandre Mariz and I had a meeting to define the picking order for next week. It was decided that we will pick the grapes from Quinta dos Malvedos and nearby Quinta do Tua in the following sequence: Malvedos Nacional, Tua Nacional, Tua Franca – which will take us to next Thursday – when we will begin on the Malvedos Franca.
Prior to the meeting Charles had been visiting and tasting the Franca blocks here at Malvedos. He was very pleased with how the grapes are looking and developing but feels they still need a few more days of sun to fine tune the ripening: Touriga Franca is notoriously the latest ripening variety of the Douro. As the weather forecast continues warm and dry, this will certainly do the trick.
Today Arlindo and his team of 23 spent most of the day picking Touriga Nacional block 16 (see map), which is a large South facing parcel, mid-way down the Quinta behind the house. This was planted in 1987 and has given an incredible low yield of just 490g per vine. These sorts of yields must without doubt be amongst the lowest of any of the great vineyards in the world, but since low yields mean incredible quality and concentration, I am expecting great things from the Malvedos Nacional this year.
Vinhaço lorry at 14:55
Not usually the team’s favourite job right after lunch!
The marc (pressed skins) that comes out of the press after we run off and fortify each lagar is sent off for distillation periodically during the Vintage, as soon as we have a lorry load. Today I called the lorry for the first time this Vintage and the winery team lugged 6,000Kgs worth of 35Kg bags onto the back of the lorry. The discouraging bit is that after having worked hard all week bagging this stuff, they have to open up and empty every bag into the lorry. It’s hot work but they all lend a hand – even Lisa was heaving and emptying bags!
Winery Update – Great Colours in 2011
The phenolic ripeness of the grapes this year has been phenomenal and consequently the colour of the final wines has been very good for each variety. Take a look at this one which is from a 50% Tinta Amarela / 50% Touriga Nacional lagar. It is deep purple with no hint of red at all and completely opaque. I have not seen such depth of colour in the musts and final wines since the 2007 Vintage. What I find particularly encouraging in 2011 is that it’s not just that one or two varieties that are performing really well, it’s all of them.