Smith Woodhouse - Quinta Madelena 1996-98Lingering Finish
1996 was one of the largest vintages in recent years, which did produce a few very good wines. Not a general declaration.
Excellent dark ruby colour, packed with black berry fruit aromas and floral hints such as mint. On the palate, full-bodied, classic black cherry flavours and balanced by fine and elegant tannins. With a long and lingering finish.
After one of the wettest winters on record, bud burst in spring was high and the vines grew very vigorously in the first stages of development. The spring however was mild and humid which delayed flowering. This did not however induce many signs of mildew in the region, probably due to a useful breeze throughout this period, which maintained the vines dry.
Flowering took place towards the end of May and both flowering and fruit set were high. This together with the favourable conditions throughout the rest of the season set the scene for one of the largest vintages in living memory.
The ripening was balanced and slow due to a mild summer, indicating that the vintage would produce good quality wines. Picking was delayed for a week due to a change of weather on the 16th September, which was followed by overcast and cool conditions for the following 10 days.