Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne
The occasion included the celebration of another two deserving dates: the end of the harvests at Ramos Pinto and João Nicolau de Almeida receiving the emeritus status as both the director of oenology and the chief executive officer of the company after 40 years of intense and dedicated labour.
After national and international guests arrived at the Ramos Pinto facilities in [Vila Nova de] Gaia, a very well-organised tasting took place; 23 whites by Duas Quintas were presented, among them classics and reserves. The wines were in great shape, revealing extraordinary evolution in the bottle. The oldest, a 1994, showed an intense, very clear yellow with a soft and velvety nose and delicious notes of evolution. Great complexity, good structure, incredible acidity, refined and very elegant – a beautiful wine. The most recent, a 2014, presented a very light citrus hue, and is an explosion of aromas of fruit on the nose as well as slightly floral and very young. Refreshing, of intense acidity, full of ripe fruit, dry, exotic and food friendly. The 2014 Reserva was also of a citrus-yellow – very elegant. Intense aromas of ripe fruit, light vegetal notes with delicious complexity. Intense, great balance between the fruit and the vegetal notes, exotic, dry and with great acidity, promising great evolution. A modern Reserva.
Then, we went on an amusing tour round the Ramos Pinto museum, which helped us understand the founder’s philosophy, whose character is still present all about the company. Afterwards, we had an excellent lunch in the company of a few of the wines we had tasted and then we headed towards Douro river for a relaxing walk.
Once we got to the Bom Retiro estate, we were surprised by the celebration of the harvest, which included some nibbles, wine flowing into glasses, and even a musical group that came up to play on a well set-up stage. The night was looking good! Next, we witnessed another surprise. This time, it was for João Nicolau de Almeida: a platform supported a replica of a bottle of Duas Quintas themed after the 25th anniversary celebration and the band played popular songs whose verses made tribute to this man, this coworker, comrade and friend who is now retiring. João couldn’t be thankful enough, he was very moved. Every single one of his children and grand-children were there.
While the party continued outside, we enjoyed a beautiful dinner and then watched the last lagarada as the wine treaders worked on the musts inside two Port wine granit presses.
On the next day, a light shower came out to meet us; it didn’t discourage anybody from an epic tasting of 23 reds, among them classics and reserves. The wines were sitting there already decanted and we were allowed to freely pour them out, creating our own tasting order and spending as much time as we needed to enjoy them.
The oldest, a light ruby 1990, will not evolve any further, but it still revealed an amazing, elegant, silky and perfumed nose. On the mouth, it was very balanced, soft, with very ripe tannins – a very classy seniour. The most recent, a 2013, is garnet and very dark and heavy. Floral aromas, violets, heather and notes of raspberry. On the mouth, it’s intense, still austere, with floral notes, powerful tannins and excellent acidity. Furthermore, it already announces the emblematic elegant profile. The oldest of the reserves, a 1992, is an extraordinary wine of an intense hue of ruby – very clean. The nose is full of souplesse and elegance with soft notes of wood and smoke. On the mouth, it’s very refined, with very ripe tannins, notes of tobacco, a silky and very long finish. A great wine!
Lastly, a moving lunch was served on the porch of the house, where we were accompanied by the many vineyards in the background and the morphology of the Douro.
If anyone wished to, they could return to the whites; in the end, we had a Port and sung Happy Birthday. A page of the long history of Douro wines has just been turned.
Once back home, I recollected a few fun episodes with João Nicolau de Almeida and his frank and contagious smile.
That is also how I fell asleep on the bus home…
Av. Ramos Pinto, 380
4400-266 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel: (+351) 223 707 000
Fax: (+351) 223 775 099