The harvest season is winding down, though some very good (and ripe) fruit remains hanging. The days are getting progressively shorter, and some rain is in the forecast, so the long-awaited “off season” period of rest can’t be far off.
Still available for dry style wines are barbera and touriga. The barbera is pickable now, but with green plants and some sunshine still in the forecast, may also benefit from additional hangtime to lower the acidity. The fruit is at a about 27 brix now, so not as high as this one has can get in this area and in our experience. The touriga is also pickable but appears to need a little more hang time to get the brix up; it’s currently at a little over 23 brix.
On the late harvest (dessert wine) side, there are some excellent possibilities. Tinto cao, a thick-skinned classical port grape, has attained a degree of ripeness that we have never seen previously in our vineyard; it’s at 28 brix, and with respectable acid. Visually, the small tinto cao berries (which come in loose clusters) seem to have achieved high sugar levels with a minimum of dehydration. The touriga nacional, a mainstay of traditional port-style wines, has 26 plus brix and is fully ripe, though with some raisining. It is past optimal time for a dry wine, and should be picked soon for best results on the dessert wine side. Finally, some delicious primitivo fruit remains a possibility for late harvest wines; the fruit is in very good shape and is sporting sugars in the 28+ brix range.