At 07.10 this morning it was cool and overcast with some low lying grey cloud, but with no hint of rain. By 10:00 am the clouds had dispersed and the remainder of the day was clear and hot. This weather is perfect for fine tuning the maturation of the Touriga Franca still to come later next week.
As I mentioned last week on Sunday there are normally fewer pickers as some prefer to stay at home with the family, go to church or work in their own vineyards. Today Arlindo had just 16 who picked Touriga Nacional all day, and tomorrow when we get the full complement back we are likely to finish the remainder of the Nacional here at Malvedos.
Last night there was a fortification of a Nacional lagar at 03:45 (ouch!) and this morning when I opened the winery and walked past the tank there was an exquisite smell in the air of freshly crushed berries and violets coming from the open lid. It just goes to confirm how aromatic all the wines have been turning out this year.
Dr. Steve Rogerson, our research oenologist, and Rita from the R&D team came to take some samples of our Touriga Nacional must from one of the lagares to use in micro-vinifications. Steve is investigating fermentation connected to different yeasts and their associated aroma complexity. Steve has chosen to do this with TN in order to better understand one of the region’s best varieties.
I showed Steve round the winery and he was particularly impressed with the colour and aroma of the Nacional lagares that he saw. His opinion, as mine, is that we are looking at potentially an exceptional year in 2011.
Today was a busy day for visitors, with three different groups spending time in the winery. Just after breakfast Raul (whom many of you know from the Graham’s Lodge) came with Chinese blogger Lawrence Lo and his team who are filming for a documentary on Port wines and the Douro.
Peter Symington, who was Graham’s head winemaker for 40 years before retiring and handing over to his son Charles, arrived with Álvaro Costa, the well-known chef based at the Restaurante at the Pousada do Porto. Peter took a moment out from his visit to talk with Lawrence Lo in the shade of the arbour outside the lower level of the winery.
In the afternoon, Dominic arrived with the Decanter Readers Group for a visit and tasting just before lunch up at the Malvedos house. In addition to a line up of the 1999, 2006 and 2009 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Ports, the group were treated to a lesson in tasting new wines, when Dominic shared with them the recently finished Amarela/Nacional blend and explained how the wine would change as it matures.
Lisa’s last day at Malvedos
Lisa is leaving tomorrow and the whole team is put out as she has been such a hard working, pro-active and popular member of the Malvedos winery team. The tradition at Malvedos is that all members of the winery team get weighed in at the beginning of the Vintage and weighed out at the end, in addition to being given a good soaking for good measure on the last day. Lisa was no exception (although by general consensus she was not required to weigh out as this was considered un-lady like behaviour), although being such a hot day I think she rather enjoyed the soaking!
Tonight she very generously bought us all dinner at the Calça Curta and tomorrow she catches the first train to Porto at 07:45, and will be visiting Graham’s Lodge for a tour and tasting with Raul before heading home to England.