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September, 2007 Portuguese Wine Harvest

2007 Portuguese Harvest

Jancis Robinson recently posted a report on how the 2007 Portuguese Harvest is shaping up. Her overall impression was that the unusually cool and rainy temperatures have, fortunately, affected the quantity of the yield more than the quality of the wine. She then followed up her report with direct quotes from the winemakers.

Considering our recent hop over the Spanish border into Portugal, we thought it appropriate to add to her list with a few additional quotes we received this morning from the winemakers. Although we would have liked a more balanced representation of all the Portuguese wine regions, it seems that the winemakers in the Alentejo are just really enthusiastic about sharing their experiences with us! Obviously, we are appreciative to everyone who contributed, thanks!

Quotes on the 2007 Portuguese Harvest received from Portuguese winemakers:

Alentejo
Domingos Soares Franco – Jose Maria da Fonseca
“This growing season has been quite good quality wise. With some exceptions during Spring, due to high levels of humidity and low temperatures. Summer has had lots of sunny hours and temperatures bellow normal which caused a long growing season. Maturation was delayed by 10 days compared to the last seven years. Today, 06/09/07, the fruit has been picked with very good phenolics and sugar/acid maturations. Temperature rose to normal for the past week. If weather stays like this we forecast a very good quality vintage, due to the long growing season.”

David Baverstock – Herdade do Esporão

“The cooler weather during July and August has enabled the fruit to ripen slowly to full maturity and vintage is currently taking place with fine, warm weather. We are seeing excellent colour in the reds, with lower pH’s and higher acidity, and the whites likewise with good acidity and plenty of aroma, so at least in the Alentejo, quality this year should be outstanding, with yields somewhat below normal.”

Filipa Tomaz da Costa: Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal, S.A.
“The maturation of white grapes were one week later than 2006. The fermenting white wines are with good freshness, high aromas and very good potential of quality. We are still waiting for the complete maturation of red grapes due to the weather conditions during the year. The samplings already made in the vineyards reveal great concentrations of colour, aromas and freshness witch anticipate a very good vintage. The 2007 vintage will be characterized as a year when good viticultural control was essential in the early stages of the season (May/June) when unseasonal rain and cool weather gave rise to fungal disease problems, in many cases throughout the country, mildew attacks during this time have significantly reduced yield – in the Alentejo, yields are down by around 10 – 15 %.”

David Booth – Lima Mayer en Companhia
“The outlook for the 2007 harvest at Quinta de São Sebastião is excellent, according to the owner Tomas de Lima Mayer, who started harvest today. Flowering occurred under perfect conditions and the fruit set was very even but quite heavy. Every vine was “green harvested’ in June, with 30 to 40% of bunches being removed, to ensure a very high ratio of leaves to fruit and a small crop of concentrated, aromatic fruit with complex tannins and naturally high acidity. Unseasonal heavy rains during June were a cause for concern because of mildew, but gave the vines the water they needed to help them get through the summer. This was followed by the coolest summer in 20 years with only one serious heat spike in late July. Overall the weather has been very kind to us and there has been a real sense of control over the vines. Irrigation has been minimal and the vines have never looked better. No rain is forecast for the next two weeks, just a long run of cool days, perfect for a superb harvest. We have to look back about ten years to find a more promising year than this one.”

Dao
Carlos Cruz & Raquel Mendes: Quinta Mendes Pereira
“Our vines are all distributed across gentle slopes facing south. This year, we had the exact intended amount of rain and sunshine hours. All the vines are pretty healthy (quite above average) and the fruits are a joy to look at (we pre-harvested 2 months ago to let each vine support only 10 bunches of grapes). 2007 is really going to be a fantastic harvest. We expect to produce well above average reds and whites. The harvest will begin a little earlier than it is usual for our region. We intend to begin in the 15 of September.”

Douro
Pedro Tamagnini: Quinta dos Avidagos
“The harvest is definitely delayed.The harvest of the whites only starts next week, and in previous years, we already had done the whites by this time. An unusual summer is preventing for a sooner harvesting. Throughout the year with some rainfalls and mildew the quantity has decreased but generally we are optimistic that this can and will be a very good year. Wines with good concentration and aromas will be the result.”

Helder Cunha – Sociedade dos Vinhos Borges
“2007 vintage conditions to date are quite unusual. There were some rainfalls during the growing season that lowered production. Some regions have a high decrease, but this break down is very site specific. Climate conditions were very cool during all August, and maturations are slow but steady. We have a 1-2 weeks gap in maturation comparing to normal. The weather is warmer and dryer now, so we are expecting a very good to excellent vintage. The vines have less bunches to mature so, without climate surprises, they will be able to achieve a good and very balanced maturation.”

Vinho Verde
Manuel Sá – Quinta de Gomariz
“This year, in the opposite of other producers we know, our harvest will be exceptional in terms of quality and quantity. This means we will have a final product with even more quality.”

From the information we’ve collected on the harvest, Jancis’ report, and the information we received during our visit with Quinta do Gradil, so far, the 2007 Portuguese Harvest is looking quite promising!

Cheers,

Gabriella

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