Late, low but lovely: Sogrape’s preliminary vintage report, Portugal

A month after my first preliminary vintage report (here) and harvest is still underway in Portugal – late indeed.

Here’s a report just in from Sogrape, the country’s biggest producer:

“At the moment, the situation in the wine producing regions of Portugal (where Sogrape Vinhos is harvesting currently) reflects the climatic conditions particular to this year. In all properties, Quinta de Aze vedo (Vinho Verde), Quinta da Leda (Douro), Quinta dos Carvalhais (Dão) and Herdade do Peso (Alentejo), the vintage started with almost a two week delay and a slightly lower crop compared to last year.

We had very dry winter months, from January to March, followed by a very rainy April. These conditions led to a late budding, flowering and veraison. Summer arrived very hot and dry, but August mornings were fresh and humid in some ar eas, such as Herdade do Peso in Alentejo and few showers in other areas namely, Quinta da Leda in the Douro. That slowed maturation making it gradual and balanced. The lack of rai n during this year’s growing season lead to the development of smaller grapes (berries). However, in our analysis of maturation, we noticed that a good colour, good phenolics and high alcohol potential were likely and this has been confirmed by the wines that have already been made.

Herdade do Peso in Alentejo was the first to start picking, on August 21st, with the white grape varieties, Antão Vaz and Arinto, and, on September 3rd , the red grape varieties Alfrocheiro, Aragonês, Alicante Bouchet and Syrah.

At Quinta da Leda, in the Douro Superior, Tinta Barroca was the first variety to be picked on September 13th followed by others such as Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. The last two grape varieties are showing great promise for the 2012 vintage.

Two start dates for our vintage at Quinta dos Carvalhais in the Dão region, September 11th for our Encruzado white grape variety and red variety Touriga Nacional. We require a fresh acidity, fruity aromas and good alcohol content to produce our sparkling rosé wine, and by September 17th the harvest at Carvalhais was in full swing.

At Quinta de Azevedo, in the Vinho Verde Region, the harvest started on September 20th and here good yields and a good degree alcohol are expected.” Vasco Magalhães

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