It was a bright blue sky this morning without a ripple on the river; however, as the day wore on there was a mixture of sun and clouds. Fortunately there was no more rain! Charles says the forecast is for clear weather ahead – let’s hope so.
Charles made a brief visit yesterday, and decided to suspend the Touriga Nacional for now and to pick block 17 of Tinta Roriz instead, as he felt the former required another day after the rain while the latter was ready to go. As a result we filled a lagar today of Tinta Roriz, which has good colour and looks promising.
Charles has also decided to suspend picking this weekend due to the heavy rain that we received yesterday. This will give the Touriga Franca a little more time to concentrate its sugars again and will then be ready by Monday. In the meantime we will finish off the Malvedos Touriga Nacional on Thursday and Friday.
Whilst not every harvest is going to give us a declared Vintage Port, this kind of flexibility in responding to weather conditions and the maturation of the grapes, and adjusting our plans so we can harvest each variety at its peak, is one of the reasons Graham’s is known for the consistently high quality of all our Port wines over the years.
Throughout the harvest we gradually fill in a large map of the Quinta to track our progress with the picking. You can see the pink-filled areas on the western end of the quinta, where we picked all the mixed variety vineyards of Sibio, the pale green on the eastern side is the Barroca we picked in the first few days, and the Touriga Nacional picked so far is in bright blue. Block 17 of Tinta Roriz was still showing white at the beginning of the day, in the centre of the map, just to the right of the striped parcel (which represents an uncultivated gorge). As you can see, we still have a long way to go to harvest all the remaining Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca!
Today was a busy day in terms of operations in the winery. We transferred two lots of fortified port to the storage lodge just below the winery, each one to its own separate tank. We also fortified our first lagar of Malvedos Touriga Nacional, which was an intense and deep purple colour – perhaps the darkest so far.
We also had an incredibly busy morning in terms of visitors. First Rupert arrived from the Malvedos house with a group of Americans who came out with our California-based U.S. distributor, Premium Port Wines, and then Miguel Potes of our Marketing Department arrived with a group of international bloggers.
Just as these two groups were moving on, Paul and Charles arrived with Victoria Moore of the Daily Telegraph. As luck would have it, we were just receiving a delivery of grapes, so she could see the winery activity from the very start. After watching this, Paul conducted Victoria over the winery to explain the Port making process in both the traditional lagares (we have two at the Malvedos winery) and the modern lagares. Afterwards, Charles, Paul and Victoria all tasted the Ports made so far this year, of which her personal favourite was the Touriga Nacional made from Quinta do Tua. Finally, we also laid out for her a vertical tasting of Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Ports from 2009 to 1965 in the front of the old tonels in the lower level of the winery.