Paul Symington checks in on Roriz

To Malvedos by boat from Pinhão, by far the quickest way up. Stopped on the way at Roriz to see my son Robert who is working his second harvest in the Douro. The winery team at Roriz were just sitting down to lunch in the kitchen, so we eat with them after checking with the caseiro’s wife that there was enough food. All the winery team’s hands are already stained red. Rob is loving it having just spent two years working in financial services in London. He is sleeping in a tiny room with no windows and a hard bed, next to the kitchen, but I do not think he would swop it for a room at the Hilton. Onto Malvedos to see the vines. They are ready now and Henry has the winery all set for Monday. PM back down the river, it is feeling definitely cooler in the evenings, there is the beginning of an autumn feel in the air. Just as well. This will be a year of selection; different varieties have reacted differently to the conditions.  Altitude, aspect and age of the vines are even more critical factors this year as can be seen every time we walk through the vineyards.

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5 thoughts on “Paul Symington checks in on Roriz

  1. Dad is right; I certainly wouldn’t swap this job for my old one (working in an air-conditioned office in London).
    I’m spending this vindima (vintage) at Quinta de Roriz. I last worked a vintage at Malvedos in 2002. Lets hope this year turns out slightly better than that one did!
    Although we are just 5 minutes downstream from Malvedos (if you are lucky enough to have a boat) it would actually take you close to 2 hours to drive there. Such is the inaccessibility of the terrain around here (and the lack of bridges).
    We are filling our 3rd cuba (vat) today. The pace is slower than it might be because we are rejecting so many dehydrated grapes coming in from the vineyard. These are being selected off the sorting tray by hand (between 10 and 20% of every tractor-load). Some of them have shrivelled up almost into raisins – others still have some juice in them and will make great port grapes. However, they have too much sugar concentration for red table wine.
    In other news, the Roriz wine-making team are currently designing their vintage t-shirts for 2009. Word has it that there is a t-shirt printing shop in Sao Joao da Pesqueira. I’ll believe it when I see it. Big talk has been had today about challenging the Malvedos team to a football match. Watch this space.
    Rob Symington

  2. Dear Paul and Rob,

    Just wanted to say thank you, to both of you and others, for updating this blog so regularly. I’m sure I can easily speak for many Port aficionados, this is a wonderful blog and I am truly grateful for it.
    Can’t wait to get back to the Douro in a few weeks time, although it sounds like the harvest may be done by then.

    Many thanks,
    Andy Velebil

  3. Dear Rob,

    Thanks for the Roriz update, very interesting! If you are taking the shrivelled grapes out that would be good for port, does that mean that you’re mainly focused on the table wines at Roriz this year? I always do love the vintage ports as well.


  4. Dear Ronald,

    We always concentrate on the red wines at Roriz in the early days and weeks. We need the fresher tannins and slightly higher acidity. The Ports are made in the Roriz lagares a little later when they have slightly more concentrated sugars. The greatest Ports have always been made when the skins show a very slight wrinkling. The red wines ideally need full skins. We will have a good Roriz Port this year if conditions allow.
    Thanks for your comments, Paul

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