The year started in rather a difficult manner; heavy rains during April and May sloweddown the flowering and significantly reduced the size of the crop. We measured 7,78inches in April and 6.65 in May in the vineyard compared to our average for thesetwo months of just 2.94 and 3.92 respectively. The fruit that remained howevermatured under excellent conditions during June and July. In late August we had twodays of rain followed by a further rainfall on 11th September.
This was exactly what was wanted as it allowed the grapes to swell and the skins were softened. This is of great importance to ensuring good color extraction when the wine is being made. We started picking at Quinta da Madalena only on the 2nd October, this was rather later than usual, but enabled us to gain maximum benefit from the good weather. The yields were extremely low, but the quality of the fruit was outstanding and the juice was immensely concentrated. It was immediately apparent that the musts had great color and had a most attractive and fresh aroma. Temperature control in the fermentation tanks was not difficult, as the nights were cool.