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Ramos Pinto… 130 years

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The façade of a grande dame of the 19th century holds court on the banks of Vila Nova de Gaïa and imposes itself facing the city of Porto. House founded in 1880 by an artist and merchant, Adriano Ramos Pinto, who managed to conquer commercialy the Brasilian market with top quality wines from Portugal and Porto of, while innovating in production and communication.

The house Ramos Pinto has very soon implemented a drastic quality production policy, from the vines to the wines. By creating or buying four Quintas, sometimes difficult to get to, in the Upper Douro valley and the Cõa valley. With determination and thanks to heavy investments, the house Ramos Pinto has set itself objectives of planting on granite and schistous soils, and it reached them through the years. The house now has stabilized its planted surface area and totalizes 360 hectares in the Douro region, on the Quintas of Ervamoira, Urtiga, Bom Retiro (vinification centre) and Bons Ares.

Quinta da Urtiga

In the early 80s, José Rosas, administrator of the House Ramos Pinto, challenges João Nicolau de Almeida, his nephew: study and select among 70 red varietals of Douro those that are the best for wine making. In 1981, João Nicolau de Almeida and his uncle present to the University of Trás-os-Montes the only survey ever fulfilled until now on the varietals of Douro. From the 12 varietals firstly studied, 5 are recommended for the Demarcated Region of Douro:

Piano des millésimes

Touriga Nacional, Aragonês (or Tinta Roriz), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão. The house then adopts a different technique, the vertical planting method, and planting in a parallel to the contour lines, allowing better yields of the vine and mechanization. The making of still wines and Porto will be perfected. The fortification, called “beneficiaçao” is the heart of the Porto wine: adding eau-de-vie before the end of fermentation, followed by a meticulous blending using the “vintage piano” to create gustative symphonies. Ageing is then undergone in the cellar of Vila Nova de Gaïa. In the shade and freshness of the place, the metamorphosis of the classical wines of Portugal into artists' wines operates: white Porto, Porto Tawny (special favourite: the 30-year old), Ruby, Vintage (a special mention for the balance and fineness of the 2007) and Late Bottled Vintage (created in 1927 and certified to Ramos Pinto by the Institute of wines from Douro and Porto).

Museum Ervamoira

Art and culture are the key words in the history of the House Ramos Pinto. The founder, a merchant, also was a pioneer in communication as he ordered advertising design that spoke highly of the Ramos Pinto Porto wines. A collection that can be discovered at the Museum in Vila Nova de Gaïa. In the Quinta of Ervamoira, other facet of a heritage: an archaeological Museum at the heart of the Archaeological Park of the Cão valley, devoted to the viticultural history of Douro.

João Nicolau de Almeida is still in charge of the Managing Direction of this jewel that entered the Roederer group in 1990: two entities with a similar and complementary philosophy (see article in previous issue).
Coming at the end of the year: a book initiated by the Francisco Girao Foundation, in 4 parts, in which you will read the writings of the current Managing Director of Ramos Pinto, João Almeida. The first part is the biography of Francisco Girao. The second one refers to the origin and history of vitiviniculture in the region of Vinho Verde and Douro. The third one describes the innovations related to the evolution of the viticulture, of oenology, of the institutional sector and of marketing from 1970-2010. Finally, the last part is dedicated to genetics and varietal selection in Portugal. To be continued.

F. Varaine5 varietals selected by Ramos Pinto
to elaborate its red wines and portos:
Touriga Nacional : fruity aromas elegance, softness
Tinta Barroca : delicacy and softness
Touriga Francesa : flower aromas, structure, strength
Tinta Cão : flower aromas, minerality, elegance
Tinta Roriz : colour, fruity tastes