We experienced again a very particular year. Winter delivered plenty of rain and a mild spring lead to a very early bud break. Flowering was around 10 days earlier than average and passed under perfect condition, hence we got a very regular and heavy fruit set. Regular bunches are one of the keys to quality. After flowering we had unusual wet (and warm) weather which resulted in heavy peronospora pressure.
Harvest started one week earlier than usual on the 17th August. Aragonez peaked the 15% potential alcohol and needed to be picked. The grape came in in excellent condition; almost no selection work was needed. As the remaining varieties needed more time to ripen on the vines, we had the chance to process a long skin contact on the Aragonez ferments – up to 4 weeks total skin contact. The first pressed wines showed very nice, dark fruit, plenty of structure.
In week 34 we processed Trincadeira and Cabernet. These wines showed very nice while still on maceration and the Cabernet might be the best ever made.
1st to 4th September heavy rainfalls and cool temperatures interrupted the harvest. Sugar values in the grapes dropped over 1% pot. alcohol. The following week temperatures up to 35°C let the sugar levels rise rapidly again to 15% pot. alcohol. We restarted harvest only next week, on the 12th.