Beginning of harvest in the Douro

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Last week saw the beginning of harvest in the Douro for Quinta do Noval and Quinta da Romaneira. Things are looking very good at this early stage. We had an unusually large amount of rain in the spring, nearly double our usual annual rainfall. This created its own problems at the time, with a lot of repair work necessary on terrace walls that collapsed during this period, but it did have the positive effect of replenishing the reserves of water in the soil. This has meant that in spite of a hot and sunny summer, the vines are in great condition, with no visible heat stress. I was in the Douro for the last ten days of August, and days were warm and sunny, but night were fresh, always good for the grapes. Before harvest began we spent several days visiting the vineyards.

Here are António Agrellos and Jose Eduardo Costa from Noval, visiting a Syrah plantation at Noval.
Here are António Agrellos and Jose Eduardo Costa from Noval, visiting a Syrah plantation at Noval.

 

We had the pleasure of the company of the renowned Portuguese wine writer Jose Salvador, seen here in a parcel of Noval with António. In the background in the distance you can see part of the Romaneira vineyard, with the two Quinta buildings of Romaneira, housing the Quinta dos Sonhos Relais et Chateaux hotel.
We had the pleasure of the company of the renowned Portuguese wine writer Jose Salvador, seen here in a parcel of Noval with António. In the background in the distance you can see part of the Romaneira vineyard, with the two Quinta buildings of Romaneira, housing the Quinta dos Sonhos Relais et Chateaux hotel.
Here are Quinta do Noval’s first grapes from 2010, Viosinho in this case.
Here are Quinta do Noval’s first grapes from 2010, Viosinho in this case.

The first grapes to be harvested at Noval were actually white ones. We planted a small area at the top of the Quinta with Viosinho and Gouveio five years ago and both parcels gave great results this year. We harvested the Viosinho last Saturday the 28th. It is the first time we have made a white wine (unfortified) with 100% Viosinho, and the must tasted delicious on Saturday evening. Watch this space for news of a new white wine from Noval next year.

Here are Romaneira’s first grapes of 2010 (Tinta Roriz)
Here are Romaneira’s first grapes of 2010 (Tinta Roriz)
The first grapes to be picked at Romaneira were red: Tinta Roriz and Touriga Francesa to make the Romaneira Rose wine. We were in the vineyard last week to choose the grapes for this small production high quality rose that is one of the more unusual elements of the Romaneira portfolio.
 
Here is Adelino Teixeira, our agronomist at Romaneira, clearly pleased by the quality of the grapes.
Here is Adelino Teixeira, our agronomist at Romaneira, clearly pleased by the quality of the grapes.
And here is my wife Corinne, who vinifies our Rose, also clearly happy with the quality of the grape she is tasting, they were both talking to each other across the vines as I took this one.
And here is my wife Corinne, who vinifies our Rose, also clearly happy with the quality of the grape she is tasting, they were both talking to each other across the vines as I took this one.

Of course these first pickings are for unfortified wines, and there are several weeks to go before the Port wine harvest gets under way, and many of the Portuguese grape varieties such as Touriga Nacional with which we also make unfortified wines still need some time. But the potential is there for a great year in the Douro. I shall be going back before the end and will post up more news.

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