Standing out from the dozens of Port houses in Gaia, near the cable car and directly across from the magnificent city of Porto (Oporto) lies a mustard colored building with the words-well lit at nighttime-RAMOS PINTO.
Founded in 1880 by brothers Antonio and Adriano, Ramos Pinto capitalized on its innovative marketing strategy to focus initially on the Brazilian market, subsequently exporting half of their output to their South American ally.
The mustard colored building comes alive indoors with a guided tour, followed by a special port tasting (recommended). The tour familiarizes you with how the company was run internally-bills of lading-typewriters-and all that goes with a company focused on sales. The other side of the coin shows the marketing genius approach of Ramos Pinto, with thematic posters and statues that dare the viewer to think about ‘Ramos Pinto’ and only ‘Ramos Pinto’ as their exclusive entrance to the world of port. The living museum houses bottle labels of the past, medals won in competitions, all with the intention of showing off the laurels of Ramos Pinto.
Ramos Pinto owns 90% of the vineyards that supply their grapes in the Douro Valley. That equates to 580 acres from four Quintas: Utiga, Bons Ares, Bom Retiro and Ervamoira. Their products are unique because they have the ability to offer single Quinta varieties or create blends from the four Quintas.
Of all of the port producers in the Douro Valley, Ramos Pinto enjoys the distinction of having the largest proportion of vineyards in relation to its production. This gives the winery the much needed control necessary for both harvest and growing conditions.
When you ferry down the Douro River in the Douro Valley, the signs from Ramos Pinto alert the passenger to their land dominance. I noted their signs from every curve of the river.
Ramos Pinto, like so many vineyards, has changed hands and was acquired by Champagne Louis Roederer in 1990.
The properties are known as “the jewel of the Douro.”
The acquisition has made the ports from Ramos Pinto more accessible to their European counterparts and those of us from North America. Ratings have been off of the chart by all of the major wine magazines and related publications.
The generous tasting that followed the guided tour proved, to me, that the ports from Ramos Pinto were exceptional and should be sought after. The 30 year port was both complex and exceptionally fresh, supple and balanced with butterscotch, dark cherry and a juniper berry and chocolate finish that lingered on my palate for minutes afterwards.
++Ramos Pinto is one of the ports chosen by TAP airlines to pour for their ‘Business Class’ flights.
Philip S. Kampe