Porto Extravaganza 2018 (5th edition) – Part 3

Porto Extravaganza 2018 (5th edition) – Part 3

Sintra, March 11, 2018

… and on the third day of a very extravagant weekend, full of intoxicating extravagances, arrive, to inebriate us once again, the wines of Porto to Porto Extravaganza!

Never before had it been made by Ramos Pinto, a classical wine company of the Douro DOC and Porto, a proof in this way for Non-professionals. It was made now in Porto Extravaganza for consideration to Paulo Cruz, mentor and main driving force of the Project.

Ramos Pinto was founded by Adriano Ramos Pinto in 1880 and, in 1990, acquired by the French group Roederer, best known for the famous Champagne. Despite this, Ramos Pinto maintains an independent management, which remains in charge of the family (the Roederer Group itself also has family management).

In addition to this family character, there are two other pillars that characterize the line of action in Ramos Pinto:

1) The fact that all grapes used in wines are of own production (coming from 4 farms, namely: The Quinta do Bom Retiro e a Quinta da Urtiga , at the top Corgo, in the heart of the region; And Quinta dos Bons Ares and Quinta de Ervamoira in the upper Douro) and;

2) The fact that the company has impregnated in its DNA the pioneering, with a constant demand to be always in the leadership of the most relevant advances in the Area: It is due to the identification of the 5 recommended varieties for Port wine (National Touriga, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão), which still remain today; The first Vintage Late bottled; or the implementation of the vineyard to the top, which is obvious the need to create levels, and that allows the mechanization of the vineyard, only to enumerate some of the advances that have more impact on the progression of the Region.

The test was conducted by Ana Rosas, Master blender of Ramos Pinto, and was organized in an interesting way. We had 4 Duets: 1. Young vintages (classic vs vintage); 2. Ripe vintages (vintage Classics with 36 and 66 years old); 3. Vintage vs Harvest (both Wines of 1924!) and finally 4. 19th century whites (one sweet and one dry). By the way, strategically, we had a masterclass on the art of Blending.

// Duet 2015-2014
Name: Vintage Pinto Branches
Color: Ruby
Year: 2015
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: 2017
Grapes: N/D
Alcoholic content: 19.5
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: €55
Rating: 17.5 Val

Classic Vintage, made with 60% of grapes from Ervamoira and 40% of the good retreat.
The color is deep dark garnet, with intense violet Splashes. In the nose is very rich, with violets and ripe forest fruit. In the mouth, it is dry and acidic, with live tannins and full of grain and with some mineral notes giving it elegance.

It gives me a lot of pleasure to drink now, but I’d rather keep it…

Name: Quinta do good Vintage retreat
Color: Ruby
Year: 2014
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: 2016
Grapes: N/D
Alcoholic content: 19.5%
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: €60
Rating: 16.5 Val

The color is also ruby, of course, but of an intensity and depth still greater than that of 2015. In the nose, again predominate the notes of ripe and floral forest fruit, such as violets and lavender, with balsamic notes to confer elegance and tar to give it Austerity. The aroma continues in almost scientific form on the Palate. In addition to the fruit notes of the forest that were expected, we also have some black plum. The balsamics are there too. The set results a little unbalanced, perhaps because the brandy is still showing too much in the nose and mouth.

The tannins, although they were described as silky, seemed to me to be green and angry. By the fact, it seems to me a wine with great potential and, unlike the 2015 I would consider drinking already, this would keep it to commemorate the birth of my grandchildren, or perhaps even their children (if you are lucky enough to still be here…).

Conclusion: It was an interesting duet, which gave to prove the profile more “round”, “ready” and friendly vintage classics of the lot, as opposed to the most personalized and impositive style of the vintage Farm. I may be wrong, but I suspect I already know where the vintage of Ramos Pinto will fetch the tannins always very alive (but more tamed by time, of Course) that I am accustomed to find in this House. Is it the grapes of Quinta do Bom Retiro?

// Duet 1982 – 1952
Name: Vintage Pinto Branches
Color: Ruby
Year: 1982
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: 1984
Grapes: N/D
Alcohol content: 20%
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: €95
Rating: 18 Val

According to Ana Rosas, This will have been the first Vintage of the Pinto Branches in which the winemaker was 100% responsible for the composition of the lot, which is mostly made with Tinta Barroca.

The color impresses by the intensity (apparently the deep color is typical of this harvest), for a wine over 30 years of Age. It’s a kind of ruby, but it has a unique hue, hard to Describe. In the nose they draw attention to the almost poignant notes of coffee, with a touch of chocolate and spices, in addition to the primary notes of the fruit (which still makes sense, and well), and Violets. Then the Balsamics appear. In the mouth still shows well the fruit, with black plum, which evolves to dry fruits at the end. Well framed in a mineral profile and with well-tamed tannins, but they do not hide in a long, greedy and high-balance end.

Name: Vintage Pinto Branches
Color: Ruby
Year: 1952
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: 1954
Grapes: N/D
Alcohol content: ~ 20%
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: €980
Rating: 18.5 Val

If the color of vintage 1982 impressed me, this vintage will never forget. Because while the 1982, as different as it is, stays within the “normal” parameters, this wine falls completely off the Deck. Let’s see: if I had to describe the color of this Vintage 1952 I would say that it is a dirty old rose with salmon splashes (!!!) – see Photo. In the nose dominates the candy, with more balsamic notes of cedar wood and, finally, chemical nuances to oil and tar. In the mouth is thick and intense, with the balsamics again showing themselves in the right dosage to not disturb the extraordinary balance that the wine presents. Indeed elegant and delicate (feminine in the profile, until), presents a very long and specialised end, well framed, once again, by very well educated Tannins. He is in a very noble moment, although he may still have enough life to live at least another decade without wrinkles or white hair getting too much attention.

Conclusion: It was very interesting this duet, since it highlighted the difference between a ripe vintage (the 1982), and a truly old vintage, with over 60 years of Age. perhaps, after this test, I will rearrange the way I catalogue the Vintage port in my head. So far I thought of 3 general categories, in ascending order of antiquity: new vintage, vintage in “silly phase” and aged Vintage. Now I divide this last category into two, because the mature and the truly old (over 50 years old, I would say) are sufficiently different animals to make a distinction.

MYOB – MAKE YOUR OWN BLEND

Strategically, before we move on to the truly old wines, we Paused. In the form of a masterclass to test our scrolls in the art of making a blend.

A wine glace of Tawny Ramos Pinto was served 20 years from the farm of good retreat, one of my 20 favorite years of all that I have tasted to this day. The purpose of this exercise was, on top of a 20-year-old pre-prepared blend (already very balanced, good structure, with interesting notes of phosphorus box in the nose and dried fruit in the mouth, with marzipan in the long final), recreate this finished product By adding “bonificateurs” to the base Wine.

For this, all participants were presented with a quaint “Master blender” case. Inside it, which looked more like a mini chemistry lab that made me relive my high school days (with pipettes, beakers and even an Erlenmeyer flask), was a bottle of good Farm-back 20 years, to which we would have to add Then the salt and pepper (we had at the disposal samples of older blends, such as the 30 and 40 years, as well as small jars of very old harvests like 1924 and 1909!!!).

When finally the “solution” to the “problem” was released (i will not disclose because I am not sure what to do, I did not ask permission), I was still halfway. But the little time we had until then was long enough to realize that it had already spread completely to the long and that I would have to abandon all my aspirations to one day become a Master blender Conceptualized. Anyway…

Conclusion: It was a very interesting exercise, in which the most impressed me was how the addition of even a small pipette of an old port wine can completely change the character of the base Wine. In fact, the salt and pepper at the Quinta do Bom Retiro 20 years represents only 3% of the final batch, and the impact of these 3% is impressive!

// Vintage Duet vs Harvest
Name: Harvest Pinto Branches
Color: Tawny
Year: 1924
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: N/D
Grapes: N/D
Alcoholic content: N/D
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: N/D
Rating: 19 Val

The wine looks thick in the cup, deep color of muddy coffee, with greenish splashess that paint the walls of the cup when it is Stirred. In the nose, intense tertiary resin, varnish. The Vinagrinho is also very intense. On the palate is very sweet, result of decades of concentration, but this sweetness is perfectly balanced by the incredible acidity that the wine presents.

They dominate the molasses and dried fig, but with mineral notes (which were a constant throughout the test, almost like a brand image, even in this wine so concentrated) and brioche in a very, very long and greedy end. To my joy, there still seems to be an appreciable stock of this wine growing old in hooves in the cellars of Pinto Ramos. I may still cross with him again…

Name: Vintage Pinto Branches
Color: Ruby
Year: 1924
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: 1926
Grapes: N/D
Alcohol content: 20%
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: ~ €1300
Rating: 18.5 Val

It is impressive that according to the information that has been made available to us this is exactly the same lot as the Harvest. And the wines are so different! The color is much less concentrated, being the Vintage more color of brick, copper, with a discreet pink splashes still. The nose is fantastic, super complex, where they dominate the cedar Notes. In the mouth is very balanced, fresh and elegant. The end is greedy, long and well framed by the ubiquitous tannins, with an impressive vigor for a wine of this age!

Conclusion: a very interesting duet, one of the high moments of the Test. Mainly because it is exactly the same wine, treated in two radically different ways, and that allowed to realize what impact they have almost 100 years of evolution under each of these philosophies! Extraordinary… The farmhouse of the good retreat was acquired in 1919 and 1924 was the first high quality harvest in the farm, which led to the decision to bottle part of the harvest as Vintage. It was a year of widespread declaration, probably due to an exceptionally cold summer and a vintage that ran in good condition, which can help to justify the freshness, elegance and high acidity that both wines present. however, the nature of the oxidizing (harvest) or reducer (Vintage) environment Print to the wine are so dramatically different that comparing one wine with the other is, I think, an exercise in Futility. It’s like comparing red wine with white wine. In this case, my favorite was the Harvest (would be the red?), perhaps because it impacts more pronounced the senses, which favors him in the context of Proof. But sometimes I feel like drinking white wine. In short, we should know what to look for in each of the wines and appreciate accordingly, we should not taste an old Vintage waiting for him to offer what a harvest offers! and Vice versa…

// 19th Century White Duet
Name: Ramos Pinto Puerto Branco
Color: White year: 1884
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: 1926
Grapes: N/D
Alcoholic content: N/D
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: unavailable
Rating: 19.5 Val

I have lately been truly surprised by these old white Ports. And this one did not escape the topic… 1884 will have been a year of exceptional Quality. This wine aged in oak hooves until 1926, when it was bottled for having been selected by Adriano Ramos Pinto himself for his own consumption, given its extraordinary quality! Amber in Color. In the nose again dominate the tertiarys of glue, varnish, resin but also with a touch of vinagrinho. It is a austere wine, contained in the initial impact, but that along the proof of mouth evolves into an unstoppable crescendo, showing a vivacity, a tension and restless that are truly unbelievable for a wine over 130 years old! End balanced, Long and Special. The wine that impressed me the most in all the Evidence. It seems that Adriano Ramos Pinto knew what he was doing…

Name: Ramos Pinto Port White Dry
Color: White
Year: 1890
Type: Fortified-port
Bottling Year: N/D
Grapes: N/D
Alcoholic content: N/D
Producer: Ramos Pinto
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Price: unavailable
Rating: 16.5 Val

This dry white port was produced to serve as “spice”, to balance the sweetness of other wines. however, Although dry, it does not seem to be more than previously Proven. In the initial impact the aroma is closed, strange, not exactly pleasant. I thought it would improve with more time in the cup, but it always kept a profile something disconcerting. On the palate has things that reminds you of a fine sherry, but more complex, of course, and also obviously more fortified. It also has some notes of honey and aniseed (sweets Dr. Bayard, Anyone remember?) that perhaps contribute to some feeling of sweet, to fight the Dryness. There are also some funny notes of butter and vanilla biscuits. I tried during the test that We’d get to good terms, me and the Wine. But I couldn’t…

Epilogue
And so we came to the end of another extraordinary port Extravaganza. A word of appreciation to Paulo Cruz for the excellent organization and for having been a great host of this incredible event, which is already in the fifth Edition. From the sample I had, I get a huge feather (even hurts!) of not having been present in the previous Editions. But “past water doesn’t move windmills”… Come is many more Port EXTRAVAGANZA! Until next year…

GP, for W4P

March 2018