September 07, 2009

2009 vintage

We were beginning to forget how hot the Douro can become in the summer! A heatwave hit the region during the 2nd week of August and daytime temperatures here at Quinta da Gricha have remained close to 40ºC in the shade during the past month. The nights have also remained very warm so there has been no early morning dew to provide moisture for the grapes. As a result sugar levels have jumped but without the accompanying phenolic maturation. Altitude and grape variety selection will play an important role in Douro wine production this year. I think the higher altitude vineyards will produce better balanced wines this year and it will be important to include grape varieties with low alcohol and good acidity such as Touriga Franca in the blend. The challenge will be to make elegant wines with freshness and good acidity.

We are experimenting with white wine this year! Possibly not the ideal year for a Douro white wine, I hear you say! but, despite the hot climatic conditions, I am delighted with the natural acidity of the grapes. We have selected the Viosinho and Rabigato grape varieties from high altitude vineyards in the Murça and Carrazeda regions. So far so good. We have two tanks currently at 10ºC which have been decanted prior to inoculation... so watch this space.....


  1. Hi Johnny,

    I'm working a few hundred metres from you at Roriz and can vouch for the heat. Better than working at a desk in London!
    See you soon.


  2. Hi Rob,
    Good to hear from you. I see you're picking Roriz. It seems a little cooler today.
    Do you want to slum it and join us for lunch here at Gricha?

  3. Hi Johnny - afraid I only got your message now. Would love to come across for lunch - we've had some great Figedos and Arroz do Pato cooked by the caseiro's wife over here (!) - you should come and eat here as well. Send me an email and I should be able to come across tomorrow (Monday). All the best, Rob