Miles’ surprise

Yet another wonderful picking day. Cloudless skies and perfect temperatures once again. I have just been to have a look at the grapes in some of our higher vineyards and they are in excellent condition. The vines haven’t lost any leaves and are still photosynthesising at full capacity, which is just as well since up here not even the Barroca is ripe yet. I’m still betting on the high-altitude Francesa though. It will need another couple of weeks yet to reach phenolic maturity but the flavour is already developing beautifully. DSC00118I had a nice surprise in an old, mixed vinha velha. These ancient plantings can contain many dozens of different varieties and the grapes from each vine taste totally different. The quality is spectacular this year, so I had to sit down in the shade for a restful few minutes eating a randomly-selected, tutti-frutti lucky dip of vinifera’s greatest hits. Often the old vines suffer in the heat because over the years their trunks slowly dry out and start to atrophy in the centre. This means that they are generally less efficient when it comes to sucking up water. To compensate, they have less fruit to ripen and roots that go down to a depth that would surprise anyone. This year they clearly know what they are up to; slowly and steadily showing the young vineyards how it’s really done. The experience of many vintages…

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