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1999 Vintage

The final vintage of the 20th century produced some strongly aromatic and intensely coloured wines of excellent quality. Not a general declaration, but many fine single quinta wines.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

The winter of 1998/1999 was exceptionally cold and dry. A late budburst was followed by a wet April and early May, delaying flowering until late in the month, however conditions were then very favourable.

June and July were warm and dry, though the effects of the dry winter were seen in the slow development of the vines. Miraculously, three days of steady rain arrived in early August which had a beneficial effect on berry size and colour. Thereafter the month continued dry with some more useful rain in the first week of September.

Vintage began generally around 20th September but at the same time unsettled weather set in, with 12 days of intermittent rain, some quite heavy. Only the Douro Superior escaped this weather pattern. Luckily temperatures were cool so there was little if any rot. Madalena, in the Rio Torto and Sra da Ribeira in the Douro Superior held off until the 30th September and Cavadinha in the Pinhão valley began on the 1st October, so enjoyed fine dry conditions for their harvests. 

Vinification

The grapes came in quite cool and with high Baumés, so most quintas reported slow fermentations and, in the time-honoured phrase, the lagares "took a lot of work." Three of the new robotic lagares were in use during this harvest and attracted a lot of visits from curious neighbouring wine makers.

Winemaker's Overview

The overall quality is looking extremely encouraging with strongly aromatic and dark wines produced - an excellent sign at this stage.

Charles Symington
November 1999



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