Same as yesterday and every day but one since the Vintage started here on the 15th: hot and sunny – perfect.
There is a public holiday on Wednesday 5th October (implementation of the Republic) and the way Arlindo’s team picked today they don’t want to miss out on it – bringing in 14,648 Kilos (a record this year) for the Vintage. So tomorrow Arlindo thinks we will finish the remaining Touriga Franca and the small parcel of Tinto Cão which should be enough to fill one last lagar.
It was a really busy day today with lots going on and a night shift thrown in for good measure. The team are tired but hanging in there, and now there is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of finishing the picking everyone is speculating when they will get home. There is definitely a feeling now of mission nearly accomplished.
Take a look at this: The colour is truly amazing in 2011 and in all honesty it’s the best I have ever seen at Malvedos across all the varieties in any given year. It’s so deep and intense that adding one fifth of colourless grape brandy seems to make absolutely no difference to the final colour!
From left to right in the photo – Must at the start of fermentation (note already pretty opaque); colourless grape brandy at 77% which is one fifth of any Port; the finished wine after fermentation and fortification. Hardly any apparent difference in colour density!
Charles came round this afternoon and we discussed the final details of the picking order and lagares. He tasted some of the first Franca lagares and commented that at this early stage they were very promising.
A group came to visit from our UK distributor John E. Fells accompanied by Paul and João Vasconcelos, many of whom I already know and it was great to catch up with them.
Visitors often ask how thick is the cap that rises to the top of fermenting wine, so Paul demonstrated by putting his arm into the lagar (see picture) as far as needed before he touched liquid must. The cap is as deep as his elbow! This shows just how low the juice to skin ratio is this year, which is fundamental to the concentration of the final wines produced.
Tomorrow evening Paul has invited all of us for a pre-dinner drink up at the Quinta house. There is a tradition here at Malvedos that at the end of the Vintage we all celebrate with a drink (lots normally actually) accompanied by some very nice canapés prepared by Branca and Prazeres. It’s a chance to relax and let off steam – can’t wait!