All signs are pointing to an early harvest for the Douro, as hot and dry conditions continue. This is according to David Guimaraens, head winemaker of The Fladgate Parnership.
The company, which consists of Taylor's, Croft and Fonseca, recorded its highest temperature at Croft's Quinta da Roêda in Pinhão, which hit 41.9°C at the end of last month.
Combined with the rains of autumn last year, this bodes well for the Douro harvest, according to Guimaraens, who is comparing conditions to the highly-rated 2011 vintage. 'Both years experienced warm dry springs and summers, although the winter preceding 2011 was wetter. The ground water reserves this year are fine so we are hoping for a very good harvest, although it will be starting earlier than usual. We expect to receive the first grapes at the Quinta da Nogueira winery during the last week of August.'
'A very good indicator of an early harvest in our vineyards is the development of our Touriga Nacional,' said head viticulturist António Magalhães. 'It is always a late developer but it has already changed colour to a deep purple.'