The Nacional, which represents 28.6% of the vineyard area and totals over 58,000 vines at Malvedos will all be picked by mid-morning today. As with all the varieties so far it has been picked starting with the lowest lying block (of that variety) and moving progressively to the highest. Thus the lower lying warmer areas where the grapes mature slightly earlier are picked before the cooler higher lying areas, ensuring that each block is picked at its peak ripeness.
Starting with block 106 which lies close to the river level at 90 meters above sea level, the pickers have gradually worked their way up the Quinta and now only blocks 4 and 5 at the very top of the Estate (at approximately 300 meters) remain to pick.
Charles’s instructions are that we begin with the Touriga Franca once the Nacional is finished, following the same rationale. I have a hunch the Franca will do very well this Vintage, it’s a late ripening variety that needs the heat to fully ripen and (in some years doesn’t ripen properly at all) therefore it should be absolutely perfect now.
When all goes well with the Franca it makes absolutely fabulous wines with particularly lifted exotic floral aromas which add an essential complexity as well as intense red fruit flavours and a robust structure.
I cannot wait to see what it looks like in the lagar later today!