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2009 Vintage

A few shippers have declared, some excellent single quinta wines bottled.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

Third year in a row of drought in the Douro. Though by September we had had less than half the usual amount of rainfall, some of that fell in June which helped the vines develop good canopy for bunch shade. Luckily the summer began fairly cool and it was not till mid August that it warmed up, with a couple really hot spells (upper 30s to 40° C) in mid August and again around 9th/10th September. After that it cooled off again.

Harvest began about a week earlier than usual, Quinta do Vesuvio, Telhada, Vale Coelho and Senhora da Ribeira (all in the Douro Superior) on the 7th, Quinta dos Malvedos on the 14th, Bomfim 17th and Cavadinha on the 20th. The weather held well throughout the vintage, and only on the very last day at Cavadinha did we get the rain we had wanted all summer – all of it! 60 mm fell in just a few hours, which is more than we get most months.

Vinification

Grapes were in generally good condition – no sign of any rot and only some showing the effect of the heat. Somes musts required cooling but they gave concentrated colours and aromas. Yields were substantially down as a result of both the drought and rigorous selection, by about a third in our own quintas.

Winemaker's Overview

Our challenging geography and our well-adapted grape varieties played decisively in our favour and fine Ports and wines were made from particular vineyards in some areas of the Douro. Barroca at about 450 metres was really excellent and enjoyed the dry weather at this altitude. Touriga Nacional had a great year in most places and showed how incredibly well adapted this vine is to the Douro climate. The late ripening Touriga Franca also performed very well.

My oldest son Robert, working at Roriz for his second harvest made a perceptive comment midway through the harvest; ‘The quality band here seems to have moved up the hill-side by some 150 metres’. This is exactly what happened.

Paul Symington
25 October 2009



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