Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old: A Superb Port For The Holidays

It's always such a pleasure when the large Portuguese wine tastings come to Boston, showcasing a diverse variety of delicious wines, often at excellent values. The U.S. is currently the second largest import market for Portuguese wines, indicating our love for these wines. Though Portugal may only be about the same size as the state of Maine, it still has the 9th largest vineyard area in the world, coming in 11th place in total production. In 2015, the value of Portuguese wines increased by 8% and volume increased by 4%, outperforming most other major wine producing countries, except France and New Zealand.

At this Annual Tasting, there were easily over 100 Portuguese wines available for tasting and though I found a number of interesting and delicious wines, there was one that clearly stood above all the rest, an exquisite wine of high quality, great complexity and with an absolutely compelling taste. It would be a great choice to drink during this fall and winter, whether at a holiday party or simply a quiet Saturday evening at home. And it would be a wonderful holiday gift for the wine lover in your life.

Let me give great praise to the Ramos Pinto Tawny 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom Retiro.

Ramos Pinto, founded by Adriano Ramos Pinto in 1880, owns several estates in Portugal, including the Quinta do Bom Retiro, which extends back at least to the 18th century. Ramos Pinto purchased this estate in 1919, which is located in the Douro subregion of Cima Corgo. The estate covers about 110 hectares, with about 62 hectares under vine, and ranges from altitudes of 110-400 meters. More than half of the vines are over 40 years old, and consist of a number of indigenous red grapes.

The Ramos Pinto Tawny 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom Retiro (about $65-$70) is part of their Terroir Gold portfolio, which also includes a 10 Year Old and 30 Year Old Port. It is produced from a blend of wines made from grapes including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, and Tinto Cão. The blend of wines also ranges in age, averaging out to 20 years, but the oldest wine is 70 years old, from the 1946 vintage. Overall, the blend includes approximately 50 different vintages, making for a fascinating melange.

How to describe this Port?

That is difficult as this is a wine that needs to be experienced and which words seem inadequate to properly describe the wonders of this Port. I can say that it is incredibly complex, with a wide range of aromas and flavors found within its liquid treasures. Each sip seems to bring something new to your nose and palate. From caramel to dried fruit, baking spices to almonds, and so much more. It is dry and silky smooth, a sensual delight which caresses and seduces your palate. And the finish is never ending, lingering and evolving with time. You could sit and analyze this Port all night, or just sit an enjoy the myriad pleasures in your glass. This is a "Wow" wine, something which should impress almost any wine lover.

I also see this is a "value" wine, meaning that at its price, you are getting much more than what you pay for, that I could easily see it costing twice as much. It is worth every penny and then some. I've tasted a number of other 20 Year Old Ports, especially as it is one of my favorite categories, and the Ramos Pinto is definitely one of my favorites, if not my top choice. If you are looking for an impressive gift for a wine lover, or you just want to splurge on yourself, this is certainly a wine you should give plenty of consideration. It earns my highest recommendation.

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