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1994 Vintage

Classic, monumental wines with fabulous rich fruit character and fantastic structure. An outstanding Vintage, probably one of the best of the 20th century. General declaration.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

The rains that marred the 1993 harvest continued throughout the winter of 1993/94, with only one brief period of respite in December. Total rainfall was double the average for the period, but after three very dry winters in a row, this was actually quite welcome.

Spring weather was warm, rapidly bringing on the development of the vines, but just a bit unsettled, with rain in May affecting the flowering, leading to a relatively small crop. Conditions through the summer were good, not much excessive heat and only enough rain to be beneficial. By early September, after one last light rain to swell and freshen the fruit, the grapes were in perfect condition and free of any disease.

Harvest took place under ideal conditions: warm, mostly sunny days and cool nights. Start dates were: Bomfim 16th September, Vesuvio 19th, Malvedos 21st, with Cavadinha, as usual, starting latest of all on the 29th. Quinta do Vesuvio, in the Douro Superior, typically begins roughly a week before the Cima Corgo quintas, but winemaker Peter Symington decided to delay picking well beyond the traditional starting date in order to produce even more concentrated wines.

Vinification

The grapes were in an excellent state of maturity, the musts had magnificent colour and bouquet. Sugar readings were very good, as high as 14.9°.

Winemaker's Overview

It rained on the 13th and through to the 14th September. This proved ideal, particularly to those who had resisted the temptation to pick earlier, as the skins were softened and the grapes swelled and the sugar levels increased. The vintage took place under ideal conditions. Occasionally rain threatened but only the odd shower materialised.

The must showed excellent colour and aroma, the soft skins allowing good colour extraction and the graduations were excellent. It now remains to be seen how the wines settle down in the vat and cask over the early winter months.

Peter R Symington
10 October 1994

This year will be specially remembered for the excellent floral bouquet of the fermenting musts in all the wineries. This together with their deep purple colour has set up great expectations for a fine vintage. 7 October, 1994

Throughout the Douro the quality of the wines produced appears to be exceptionally high and it is many years since such universally high quality wines have been made. Shippers and growers are delighted with this situation – particularly after the small and poor quality 1993s. 14 November 1994

James R Symington
 



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