One more lagar of Nacional was fortified last night at 01:10 last night –better than 3 am I suppose!
We started with the Touriga Franca this morning and received our first load at 10 o´clock. The Franca bunches have thick skinned berries and are in fine condition. In order to achieve ideal ripening and realise its full potential the Franca requires lots of sunlight and warm weather (this is why it is invariably the last variety to be picked), which is exactly what we have had during the last two weeks, and I am therefore confident that we have some excellent raw material to work with in the lagars during the course of this week.
The pickers began with the low lying blocks 29 and 31 (planted in 1984) down by the river which took the whole of the morning to harvest. In the afternoon they moved higher up the Quinta block to 59 (also from 1984) just above the entrance to the Quinta.
By the time the pickers left at 5:00 we had one full lagar of Franca which is being trodden tonight.
In the winery we have had a busy day topping up tanks following my tasting with Charles yesterday as well as the usual business of receiving grapes, fortifying lagares and carrying out corrections received from the laboratory.
We also had a visit from Euan Mackay and Reinout Verbeke from EOS, a Dutch scientific magazine, who is going to write an article on the Graham’s Robotic Lagares. I explained to him exactly how they operate and we then had a very interesting tasting which included two wines from 2008 made at Malvedos of the same variety, one made with traditional treading and the other with automated treading. In terms of overall quality both were equal although there were subtle differences. The traditional lagar wine had more delicate aromas and a softer palate, while the robotic lagar wine had exuberant aromas and a more powerful structure on the palate “like a big grizzly bear” as Euan put it.