One of our very few autumn wine tours went to the Douro Valley in late October. All the winemakers we met agreed on one thing: the 2020 harvest was a challenge, and it was not mainly due to the pandemic but to the weather. During the winter they had quite a lot of rain, and it was much-needed. During the growing season, they had to fight both mildiou, a fungal disease, and then drought and heat that led to small, almost dried grapes. In the end, the volume was relatively small. The unique thing was, said Tiago Alves de Sousa at Quinta da Gaivosa, that despite the high sugar content in the grapes, the acidity was also very high. 2020 will be an interesting (potentially very good) year.
Vasco Valente Lopes Quinta Senhora da Graca in Lobrigos started harvesting already in August. It was only the second time he had experienced such an early harvest. That meant picking in 35 C heat. The fermentation was long, and the alcohol level ended at 15%. We tasted the new vintage from the tank; the fruit is wonderfully intense.
Vincent Bouchard at Quinta do Tedo was happy with the result so far, but it is too early, he said, to make comments about the quality. He did tell us, however, that there was no foot treading this year at Tedo. It is too difficult to keep appropriate social distancing in the lagars.