The 2007 growing season was marked by cooler temperatures and more than average rainfalls. On the first sight this looks like unfortunate for wine quality for an outsider but in hot Alentejo this can even be a blessing. The winter was a normal “Alentejo”-winter with average rainfalls. A cool and rather wet spring delayed the bud break. Flowering passed a bit later than usual but without any problems. Frequent and unusual rain showers in May and June brought in humidity and together with warm temperatures increased the potential for fungus infections such as downy mildew and powdery mildew. Care had to be taken to do the protective treatments right before any outbreak of such devastating diseases. Overall we estimated a delay in vegetation of around ten days. End of July we started the yield reduction. This year we kept it strictly to the plan which brought us later in harvest excellent quality and the necessary time to pick before the rain! July and August are key months when it comes to maturity of the grapes. The two months were hot and dry but temperatures rarely reached more than 33°C, nights cooled down 15°C.
These are good conditions for phenolic maturity and a slow sugar accumulation. Finally we set the date for the first grape picking on the 27th of August, as sugars reached slowly 14.5% potential Alcohol. But the weather had other plans and 10 liters of rainfall on the 25th decreased the sugar levels to 13.5%. The rain did no other damage than diluting and so we decided to wait another week before picking. This was another important piece for the excellent grape quality this year. Due to the extended maturity time phenolic maturity reached a level we did not have since 1999. Sugars recovered to 14 – 15.4% pot. Alcohol – perfect!
We picked grapes from 3to 8, 10and 11September. On these 8 days we picked around 60 tons including all important blocks for Terra and Zambujeiro. On the 11th in the evening an unstable weather situation started and brought for the next two weeks frequent showers and the thunderstorms. We picked again on the 18 – 20September, and on the 26.