Malvedos Winemaker’s Update: Wednesday 19 September

Bread, butter, coffee and discussion of the football – typical Portuguese breakfast!

It was sunny with a refreshing breeze early morning and then turned into another hot day.

As with every morning we do our checks and ensure that everything is in order at the winery before the day begins and the first grapes arrive, then walk up to the Caseiro´s house where Dona Fatima, Arlindo’s wife, has laid out breakfast.  Bread, jam, coffee, and milk circulate around the table as we discuss the day´s proceedings (and overpriced footballers! – Porto played Dinamo Zagreb last night).

This afternoon at 3 o’clock we finished picking the last of the Tinta Barroca at Malvedos. As I predicted the Barroca yields were low this year, producing just 710g per vine (a remarkably tiny amount by any wine region’s standards).  However as a result the grapes have shown had remarkable concentration and flavour. I feel sure the Barroca lagares will produce some very structured, full bodied and concentrated Ports this year.  One is already made!

The pickers then moved to the Sibio vineyard, which adjoins Malvedos and was bought earlier this year.  The plantings at Sibio are a field blend of ‘Vinha Velha’ (old vines from the 1980s) which we are vinifying at the Malvedos winery for the first time this year.  Previously the grapes were bought in from the then-owner and vinified at neighbouring Quinta do Tua.

We fortified the first lagar of the Vintage today, a 100% Tinta Barroca lagar.  Paul came by with some visitors from the UK just as we were running it off – Paul was pleased with the fresh clean berry fruit of the must.

Today we had a slight problem with the scales and had to call in outside help to have it repaired.  Every delivery of grapes is carefully weighed before we begin the triage and vinification, so we can be sure of our yields per vine and begin to anticipate quantities of must and required aguardente.  I’m sure this breakdown can have nothing to do with weighing the winery team yesterday…

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