Henry Shotton, winemaker at Malvedos informs:
Tuesday 24th September
Sr. Arlindo with a team of 25 pickers began (under pleasantly cool conditions) at 7 in the morning on the Malvedos Touriga Nacional (TN), which will keep us busy for at least the next three days. They started with blocks 75, 76 and 77 planted in 2000, whose grapes tasted perfectly ripe and had soft skins when Charles and I did the rounds of the TN blocks yesterday. They then moved on to two older blocks planted in 2000 – 97 and 88 – situated on the Eastern part of the Quinta which will fill the first lagar of TN that will be trodden tonight.
The Vinha Velha (very old mixed vines) and Tinta Amarela (TA) lagar from Tua was trodden last night for four hours and gave an excellent 14.55º Baumé. Despite a full complement of pickers the lagar was a little short, just 8,363 Kg (normally 11,500 to 12,000 per day); this being primarily due to the very low yields of the Vinha Velha. Although a lot of ground was covered, fewer than normal grapes were picked.
During the day we received a visit from the Algarve Wine Society (mainly expatriate retired Brits) and they were shown around the winery. Soon after their arrival the Autoridade Para As Condições Do Trabalho (a UK equivalent would be The Health and Safety Executive) made a typically unannounced visit in search of any illegalities among the pickers and winery staff. Not exactly what we needed when we are trying to make the best possible Port wines.
Of course all the paperwork was in order, although our guests from the Algarve Wine Society were quite puzzled by the inspectors’ armed police escort…Even Jackie Thurn-Valsassina, our Australian PR and Events Manager had to produce her passport as proof of identity. Her Aussie humour soon had everybody smiling and relaxing with a glass of Port (health and safety inspectors included).
Wednesday 25th September
Night of the 24th was very overcast and muggy, however — to our relief — no rain fell at Malvedos.
Morning of the 25th: 07h30 – pleasantly cool morning. Dark clouds have gone and lots of blue sky in sight.
Arlindo and his team continue harvesting at Malvedos. Today we picked the 3rd lagar of the vintage – a blend of TN (block 16 – one of our best with 7,766 vines planted in 1987) together with two blocks of Tinta Amarela: 61 (1984) and 62 (2005). We have co-fermented (i.e. in the same lagar) these two varieties in previous vintages where the structure of the TN is very well complemented by the lifted aromatics of the TA.
Now two full fermenting lagares progressing well and filling the 3rd today. We expect our first fortification this evening after dinner. The second lagar of the vintage (100% Touriga Nacional) delivered a very satisfactory 14.25º Baumé.