Tag Archives: Ramos Pinto

Hard a’ port (Porto, Portugal – Day One)

Only a week a go I was talking about a style of wine considered to be very old-fashioned and makes one think of old British movies. This wine was sherry, and it is interesting that about two weeks later I am here where they produce the other wine that comes to mind which is port. Sherry and port share a few things in common apart from being thought of as an old persons drink. Firstly they are both fortified wines, but in the case of port the fortification is made during the fermentation to stop it and retain a residual sugar, whereas sherry with the exception of pedro ximenez and muscatel are fortified after the fermentation. Secondly the fortification was important for the transportation and spread of port as it was for sherry, but it was actually British wine merchants who introduced the process into port whereas the Moors introduced it in sherry. The third similarity is with the fact that like dry sherries, cask-aged port doesn’t age in the bottle and should be consumed pretty soon after bottling, whereas vintage port ages in the bottle and can keep for a very long time indeed. The first fundamental difference between the two is that the vast majority of port is made from red grapes, whereas more sherry is made from white grapes. Along the same lines, almost all port is sweet whereas the majority of sherry is either dry or medium-dry. Like sherry however, port is also undervalued and underappreciated, and the best examples are truly exceptional wines regardless of their style.

The port halls of Taylor’s

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Ramos Pinto – 13/07/2012

Duas Quintas Vinho Tinto 2010
Very balsamic on the nose, savoury dark fruits, very slight herbal toast elements. Fresh focused dark red fruits, balanced and approachable, clean and pure, oak not having a huge influence in weight and texture, just a very slight honey character late on the palate.

Duas Quintas Reserva 2008
Sweeter oak and fruit notes, coconut caramel, black olives, blackcurrant, slightly new-world/international wine. Round robust tannins, sweet oak profile, deceptively hot on the palate. Aggressive, over-macerated, over oaked, fruit totally overwhelmed, maybe due to concentration from the vintage but I struggle to see this wine improving.

LBV 2007 (kept in ‘large’ barrels and bottled unfiltered in 2011)
Ruby black fruits, violets, camomile, smoky chocolate and cumin, slightly spicy. Soft mellow bold, very warm on the front of the palate, rich broad and creamy on the mid-palate, wonderfully smoky and spicy, sweet but quite nutty towards the back with some dark chocolate notes. Cassis and blackcurrant, showing a little bit of freshness very late on the palate.

VP 2003 (two years in large old barrels, released after another two years in bottle)
More subtle on the nose, quiet fruit and floral elements, very closed but obviously like a coiled spring waiting to open up. Very intense and full, sweetness well restrained and good depth. Broad and mouth-filling but very focused with a core of acidity. I think I’m missing something with this one, not really seeing it…

VP 1983
Starting to thin out and get more of a tawny colour. Picking up much more complex oxidative notes, very nutty and spicy, very dry raisins, smoky chocolate and carob elements. Exquisitely smooth ad mellow, quite heady as the alcohol has integrated very well. Unbelievably complex and long, layers upon layers of flavours hard to pinpoint. Smoky herbal sweet thyme and a creaminess as well.

Porto White (medium dry white, fermented on skins but not able to age in the cask as long as a red port, 3 years ageing)
Nutty vanilla caramel honey. Fresh vibrant yet subtly sweet, showing the warmth a bit, but nice nutty and oxidative flavours and textures. We should be importing this if we aren’t already, a really delicious wine that can be chilled. Summer port! Complexity in youth!

Lagrima Branco (three years ageing, more sweetness)
Quieter on the nose, subtle salted caramel. A lot less subtle on the palate, quite simple and sweet, very creamy and too viscous. Opening up a bit more with some warmth, served a bit too cold.

Adriano White Reserva (7 years average age)
More oxidative elements, lees and caramel elements. Supple mellow, rich and textured, bold warm, layered complex and delicious.

Adriano Tawny 6 years old
Interesting nutty meaty complexity. Wonderfully subtle, but still fresh, mellow soft and silky, lovely approachable yet complex texture, nutty coffee.

RP10 Quinta de Ervamoira
Quite rummy in character, but also very nutty and creamy. Quite subtle savoury elements, Sitting in the middle too much, not enough complexity.

RP20 Quinta do Bom Retiro
Nice smoky warm spice and dried fruit notes. Exceptionally well balanced, oxidative, textural, mouth-filling, focused, long and haunting. Perfect balance between sweetness and mature savoury notes of walnuts and toffee.

Complex closed tar and molasses notes, smoky toasty, pretty intense and warm, showing some complex nuttiness but I think it could do with more age to set it apart.

Some of the new labels from Ramos Pinto

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