Arrived at 07:31 and it was a lovely fresh morning as I opened up the winery. The sky was blue and there was the promise of a warm day ahead. However after lunch a strong gusty and cool breeze started blowing up river and white clouds appeared on the western horizon. I hope this is not the harbinger of a change for the worse
Last night one of the Touriga Nacional lagars was run off at 04:20, the night shift had a bit of a rough time of it I’m afraid. When this happens they lie in a little longer in the morning to recuperate.
Today the first load of Touriga Nacional from blocks 4 and 5 planted in 1989 right at the top of the Quinta only arrived at the winery at 12:00! The reason for this is that these must be the lowest yielding Nacional grapes picked so far at Malvedos. I took some random bunches from the first load, and I managed to place 5 on the A4 block where I register the weights!
Speaking to Arlindo at lunchtime he told me that he has his usual complement of 19 pickers, and that there are lots of bunches up there on the vines but they are all very small and that it therefore takes much longer than usual for the pickers to fill the 22Kg boxes and get a tractor load down to the winery. With yields like this I can feel a super concentrated lagar with great intensity of flavour on its way.
We’ve had a very busy afternoon with a variety of different jobs going on simultaneously at the winery.
One of the fortified Nacional lagars was send to its final resting place for the winter in our lodge down by the river, and samples were taken to send to the laboratory.
The fourth lagar of Nacional which was trodden last night giving a good 12.8 Baumé began fermenting during the night and we have spent all day cap plunging it, extracting as much flavour and colour as possible. Just before dinner we sent it down to finish its fermentation in one of the closed fermenters in the lower level of the winery. We do this so that we have free lagars and therefore capacity to tread all the grapes we receive at the winery.
Last but not least the vinhaço lorry arrived to take away the mark – the dry cake left after pressing – for distillation. In fact we fortified and pressed another lagar this afternoon, producing even more vinhaço for the guys to move out. Loading 5.000 Kg of mark from the pressings is not the team’s favourite job but it has to be done. The lorry only arrived at 18:00 and dinner is at 19:00 – you should have seen them shift those 45Kg bags. Needless to say we got to dinner on time!
Today a group of kayakers passed the winery going downriver towards Pinhão. I’ve done a 4 day kayak trip myself coming down the river and camping as you go with a group of friends a few years ago and it’s great fun. I can recommend it as a really great way to see and get a feel for the Douro.