As a rule, no two harvests are the same. Every year, there is a different yield. 2021 was memorable due to the challenging conditions it presented and all that we learned as a result. The demands we faced throughout the year, mainly due to unpredictable weather conditions, kept our teams on their toes, requiring great agility not only in tending the vines but in harvesting, too. In the end, the wine in the cellars shows excellent promise, already showing signs of the freshness and elegance that are so characteristic of the Távora Valley terroir.
With regard to the weather, it was a volatile year. At the end of 2020, despite a bitterly cold December, we had a warmer, wetter winter than usual. In 2021 we had the hottest February on record since 1931, yet also with heavy rain, followed by a dry Spring, changing only in May, which surprised us with heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, and high winds (and these conditions returned at the beginning of Summer). July was cooler, August hotter, then September seemed to signal a return to normality, but an early, heavy rain arrived.
As a result of this climatic instability in both Winter and Spring, the vines evolved heterogeneously. The vegetative cycle, blooming, and maturation beginning at different times on many of our plots. We were keenly attentive to the final stage of maturation, seeking the perfect timing, that is, the ideal middle ground between sugar and acidity. It was a tremendous challenge, especially after the September rainfall. Some of our reds still hadn’t been harvested, so we had to overcome the constraints of rain and humidity, waiting for the fruit to mature to its fullest.
The grape selection was carried out right after harvest, discarding any bunches with signs of degradation, which turned out to be an insignificant amount. At last count, the 2021 harvest, between September 10 and October 12, registered significant growth in production (34%), attesting to the high-quality viticulture throughout the year, alongside the resilience of the vines themselves.
The wines in our cellars are developing well. We have very interesting batches of DOC wine, both red and white. The climatic instability is most reflected in the maturation of the grapes destined for fortified wines, but these have also already begun their naturally longer development. Whether Port wine or DOC Douro, the characteristic traces of our terroir – freshness, and elegance – can already be identified.
Now to work in the cellar, and we’re already looking forward to beginning the 2022 cycle.
Maria Susete Melo
(Head of viticulture & oenology)