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1998 Vintage

A handful of shippers declared in 1998, with many of the big names opting instead to declare single-quinta wines. Unusual weather patterns led to small yields of high quality, highly concentrated wines.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

After a short, sharp winter the Douro 'enjoyed' an uncharacteristically hot and dry February and March; by late March vine shoots were already 30 cm in length. April and May, however, were extraordinarily wet and cool, with frost in higher lying areas. The result of this pattern was poor fruit set and one of the smallest vintages in living memory.

June was mercifully mild and July and August hot and dry as they should be, and the grapes had achieved perfect ripeness in many areas. The harvest began around 21 September and the first Baumés were promising. Sadly, the weather broke and the harvest continued in wet conditions, reducing Baumés. Senhora da Ribeira was one quinta to start early, 14 September, and complete their harvest before the rains set in, and Cavadinha, as usual, began quite late on the 1st October, also missing the rains and harvesting in fine conditions.

Winemaker's Overview

Although still very early to assess quality, wines produced are aromatic and of good colour and should develop well. 1998 will undoubtedly be remembered for producing one of the smallest harvests in the Douro this century.

Charles Symington
26 October 1998



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