The rain in Spain... 2002

I'd already read many reports of unusually heavy and persistent rains in Spanish wine regions. And this is a report dated 23 September from Victor de la Serna, wine writer and recent convert to wine production east of Madrid.

We're harvesting (I actually started this morning after finishing bottling the 2001 on Saturday!) because we see the first few signs of 'passerillage' and the foliage is turning yellow – Syrah being a notoriously fast-overmaturing grape, as you well know. But we're not wild about the general conditions of this cool wet harvest after a cool wet summer...

I was, last night, with a bunch of distinguished colleagues and friends at Pingus for a little art-cum-wine event (Peter Sisseck, Alvaro, Telmo Rodríguez and Carlos Falcó), and we were all disoriented and doubtful.

Carlos tells me he's had to stop his harvest after taking in only 10 per cent of the grapes, in order to let the storms go by and wait for better maturation of the rest, and that this is the first time it's happened to him in 25 years, since in La Mancha we usually have those blessed warm sunny harvests in which we never stop before eveything is in the cellar, in a state of perfect phenolic maturity... Then again, who are we to complain – we still have grapes to ferment, and many of our French and Italian colleagues don't even have that any more this year!