There is no such thing as an easy year in the Douro Valley, but although the final result was some magnificent wine, 2011 was actually particularly challenging in the vineyard and the utmost vigilance was necessary in order to produce the great Vintage Port of 2011.
From October 2010 to September 2011 the total precipitation was 743 mm, slightly above the last 30 years average (596 mm), but much lower than in 2010 (1254 mm). 85% of this precipitation fell during the winter. This very positive factor replenished the water reserves deep down in the soil. In contrast, the weather was very dry for the rest of the year, from spring to autumn only in the summer were the temperatures moderate.
We start harvesting the white grapes on the 25th of August. We then had another set of rain on the 1st of September. As all the weather forecasts were positive, we decided to postpone the harvest for a week to allow the vines to take advantage of this water and reach full maturity.
Grapes were healthy and in excellent conditions. Once crushed in the lagares they immediately showed excellent dark colour and lovely aromas, with good sugar content and acidity. We knew at once that we were potentially in the presence of a great year.