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1988 Vintage

Disastrously small vintage, most quintas down by 50% and some by as much as 70% from average production. No declarations, just a handful of single quinta wines, best for drinking fairly young, rather than ageing.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

Spring and early summer were characterised by exceptionally bad weather, exemplified by the record at one unfortunate quinta: a production of only 4 pipes versus an average of 130, as a result of mildew, desavinho (abortion of flowering and fruit set, usually due to adverse weather at the time of flowering) and finally hail.

The summer was relatively cool and approaching harvest in late August the vines were fairly backward, but from 5 September a scorching heat wave set in. In Porto shade temperatures were as high as 38° C, extraordinary for a city on the Atlantic coast. In the Douro temperatures were 40° C and more, 42° C recorded officially near Pinhão and 45° C on the verandah at Quinta dos Malvedos. Temperatures did not drop to more normal levels (30° C) until 12 September.

However uncomfortable it was for people in the Douro, the grapes responded well to the heat and caught up their maturation. Picking began 22 September in Rio Torto, Pinhão and near Tua, and by 26th picking was in full swing throughout.
 

Winemaker's Overview

Colour seems good, and initial impressions are that the quality of what little wine will be made this year, should be very reasonable, and certainly much better than had been feared only a month ago.

Paul Symington
3 October 1988

The quinta [Malvedos] produced only 54 pipes when we had hoped for 130 or so. Throughout the Douro production is tiny compared to normal years. For instance in the Vale de Vilariça Cockburn’s had only 20 pipes when they usually have about 300.

James R Symington
October 1988
 



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