Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne
The Ramos Pinto company was founded in 1880 by Adriano Ramos Pinto, who was later joined by his brother, António. In a house where innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset always walked hand-in-hand, the name José Ramos Pinto Rosa stands out for having organised an important project to select the five recommended varieties for Douro – both Port and table wine – together with his nephew João Nicolau de Almeida. Seeking inspiration in his father, Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, the creator of Barca Velha, João Nicolau de Almeida, quickly learned that part of the secret would be to put grapes grown at high-altitudes (more acidity) together with more mature grapes from lower vines. This way, Ervamoira grapes (492 ft high) were combined with Bons Ares (2000 ft high); the name would, of course, be Duas Quintas (“Two Quintas“), and after a few trials it was released for the first time using the 1990 vintage.
Duas Quintas was an innovation and a challenge in its time, having mixed the more modern wine processing techniques with the traditional presses; a project planned from the start, and once again new to the region, as well as a driver for the emergence of a “new Douro”. In 1991, Duas Quintas Reserva emerged, followed by the Duas Quintas white in 1992. With 12 wines, we slowly gauged the 25 years of history that João Nicolau de Almeida’s expertise translated into wines and words.
In a brief introduction of the wines I was mostly touched by, this tasting began with a magnificent Duas Quintas white 2000 presented in a beautiful narrow Rhone bottle, decanted and served immediately, leaving us all flabbergasted. A combination of freshness and hints of crayons, herbal tea, and flowers, where the fruit alternately combines with freshness, and with the syrupy touch of jelly. It’s the kind of wine that makes you feel like drinking it as well as storing a few bottles away at home. Beside it stood Duas Quintas white 2014, displaying all its youthful energy; perhaps irreverent in a way it predicts an also high-calibre future.
We got started with the reds, first of all the pioneer, Duas Quintas 1990. A very handsome wine, full of life, and in which the fruit seems to rejoice with all the fresh strawberry and raspberry, a lot of energy with very polite third-level aromas, well-rounded corners, but highly glamorous, and showing an envy-worthy presence on the mouth. A classic of the range, just like the eloquent Duas Quintas Reserva 1991, the first Reserva to be able to raise the quality level much higher than what was available at the time in that region.
Two reds out of the exceptionally high-quality harvest, 1994, were brought out to be tasted. Comparing the Duas Quintas 1994 to the 1990, the first proved better and showed more presence of fruit, some vegetable and very balanced throughout. However, Duas Quintas Reserva 1994 presented a classic profile of a great Douro red, noble and of strong character, very complex, combining the freshness of the fruit with a touch of milk toffee, a delight.
The tasting was to end with the wines of the new millennium. Just like the white, so did Duas Quintas Reserva 2000 show a colossal path to stardom; dense, cohesive, and with a lot of freshness, everything at its best, until it’s tamed over time. The last wine, Duas Quintas 2013 is quite tempting, filled with beautifully perfumed aromas, very young and full of energy, within the character and profile that have been steering the wines on this amazing journey that started in 1990.
Av. Ramos Pinto, 380
4400-266 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel: (+351) 223 707 000
Fax: (+351) 223 775 099