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Ramos Pinto
by
Terry Sullivan

Ramos PintoSummary: Ramos Pinto was established in 1880 by Adriano Ramos Pinto. Today, wine enthusiasts can enjoy visiting the historic offices in the iconic yellow building on Avenue de Ramos Pinto across the Douro River from Porto, in Vila Nova de Gaia. This museum will lead visitors on an intriguing journey including discovering the marketing abilities of Adriano Ramos Pinto who began this port production business.

We walked about ten minutes from our room in The Yeatman hotel, down cobblestone streets and cement or stone stairways, to the Avenue de Ramos Pinto. We were searching for a large yellow colored building, that was quickly and easily spotted. We walked up a courtyard between two wings of the yellow building following the sign “visitas.” After announcing that we had an appointment, we were met by our guide. We were then ushered to the old offices of Ramos Pinto, now a museum.

Ramos Pinto was founded by Adriano Ramos Pinto in 1870. Later his brother Antonio Ramos Pinto joined the company. The building was bought in 1907 and Adriano began renovations. The lobby area was at the top of the stairs. It was a long rectangular room separated from the offices. The brothers loved art, wine and beauty and this is shown in the lobby area. The highlight of the lobby area were the three walls with blue and white tiles depicting disrobed women cavorting with Bacchus. In the early 1900s the scenes may have been shocking to some, or a brilliant form of marketing to others. Tiles are very popular in Portugal and have been since the 16th century.

Ramos Pinto

Ramos PintoThe theme of women was continued in company posters in the old office area. One framed poster shows a woman guiding a barco rabelo, a wine boat carrying barrels of port. We were told that women did not navigate the Douro River in these braco rabelo, again an example of marketing. Our guide mentioned that the men drank port but the women would purchase it for them. The office area was set up as an office from the 1900s. There were many artifacts. A model of a braco rabelo showed how few barrels could safely be placed on these boats.

Ramos PintoOne of the early marketing ideas for the port lodge was to give special gifts to those consumers purchasing several bottles of port. Those who purchased one bottle of port received a greeting card. Special gifts started with the purchase of twelve bottles. They included fashionable objects for daily use by ladies and gentlemen as well as decoration pieces. One example was a dinner plate.

In the office of the brothers, there was a unique bottle (pictured at end of article). Three bottles were held together by a gold colored piece of metal. The three individual bottles were shaped to fit together forming a large wine bottle. However, each bottle held a different port such as a white port, a tawny port and a ruby port. Adjacent to this office there was a private tasting room for visitors that Adriano and Antonio wanted to impress.

Ramos PintoOur tour then led us to the cellars where cigar-shaped barrels were stacked three high. These barrels hold 675,000 liters of tawny ports. Another warehouse close by in Vila Nova de Gaia holds 3 ½ million liters of port. Ramos Pinto has an annual production of about two million liters which includes half as port and half as Douro Valley still wines.

Ramos Pinto owns four quintas in the Douro Valley. Quinta do Bom Retiro, Quinta do Bons Ares, Quinta de Ervamoira and Quinta de Urtiga comprise 250 hectares (618 acres). A display showed the stone terrace from the vineyards. In the cellars, a stone stairway led from one level to another level of the terraced vineyards.

During the tour we learned that Ramos Pinto was one of the first port lodges to export port in bottles. Ramos Pinto has exported port to Brazil for over a century. Today, there are still ties to the founders. The oenologist is a direct descendent of Antonio Ramos Pinto.

Wine Tasting

The tasting room is a large area. Cushioned seating is in one area while tables and benches are in another area. Our tasting was set up at a table with benches. We began tasting two still wines from the Douro Valley. The 2016 Duas Quintas Reserva White, Douro DOC, was a blend of Rabigato, Voisinho, Malvasia Fina and Arinto. The yellow colored wine had 13.5% alcohol. The aroma was reminiscent of a floral bouquet. Melon and citrus were on the taste. The finish offered fruit and flowers with a very long aftertaste.

The 2014 Quintas Reserva Red, Douro DOC, was a blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. This 15% alcohol wine had a black color with a ruby hue. The aroma was a black fruit salad, while the taste had black cherries, black plums and cinnamon. The wine was full bodied with bold tannins, The finish was crisp and fruity.

Ramos Pinto

Ports

Ramos PintoThe 2013 Late Bottled Vintage was a dark ruby to black color with 19.5% alcohol. The aroma had red and black fruits. The taste was sweet at 100 g/L of residual sugar. The mouthfeel was very smooth and the taste offered cherry, black raspberry and cinnamon. The finish was fresh with fruit and baking spices.

The 1982 Vintage Port with 20% alcohol was an opaque dark ruby to black color with a brown hue. Black and red fruits were on the aroma. The mouthfeel was velvety and the taste had cherries and plums. The finish was fruity.

The 10 Year Old Tawny was made with grapes from Quinta de Ervamoira. The port was a translucent garnet color and had 20% alcohol. Dried fruits were noticed on the aroma. The silky taste was sweet and offered dried cherries and baking spices. The finish was fruity with some spice and there was a very long aftertaste.

The 20 Year Old Tawny was made with grapes from Quinta do Bom Retiro. This port had a translucent garnet color with a brown hue. Dried fruits and some alcohol were noticed on the aroma. The very smooth taste had dried cherries, nuts, orange peel and baking spices. The finish had layers of fruit, nuts and flowers. The port had a long aftertaste.

The 30 Year Old Tawny was a garnet color and had 20.5% alcohol. The aroma had dried fruits and a bit of alcohol. The silky taste had dried cherries, almonds and a bit of spices. The finish began with fruit followed by almonds.

When visiting Porto, stop across the Douro River and stop by Ramos Pinto. The tour of the old offices shows an era gone by. Tastings are laid back and enjoyable in the large room where sitting is available.

Ramos Pinto
Avevnue de Ramos Pinto 380, 4400-266
Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

 

Article written April 2018.

 




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