Casal do Ramilo

August Wines of the Month: Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2020 & Ramilo Vinhas Velhas Tinto 2017

Ramilo Vinhas Velhas Tinto 2017

During July’s heat spikes, refreshment was at a premium.  According to the Met Office, we can expect more of the same in August.  My August Wines of the Month will refresh you and your taste buds in style.  

Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2020 (Polish River, Clare Valley)

Jeff Grosset with Vintage 2020 Riesling – tiny bunches and berries; photo credit Grosset Wines

Having already been certified organic, Grosset’s vineyards have been certified biodynamic since 2019.  From a challenging year, the harvest was down dramatically due to a lack of winter rain and rainfall during the growing season, plus some variable weather at critical times (flowering and set).  The resultant bunches and berries were tiny.  Polish Hill vineyard’s berries are always tiny anyway so, as you might expect, this vintage has no shortage of intensity and depth.  The nose is incisive – fresh and mineral, tightly wound.  Uber-concentrated in the mouth, with some softness/weight to the slate-smacked grapefruit and dusty lime palate.  Casting long, fabulous whiplash tension and minerality pulls you back into the fruit.  Retro-nasal minerality makes for an immensely long, fine, laser-beam-focused finish.  Terrific.  Enjoy it now for the electricity, or put it away and take a look at it again in a decade or more.  It prompted me to pluck a 2012 from my cellar (reviewed here);  I’m in no hurry to drink to the remaining bottles!  12.8% RRP £39.99 at Philglas & Swiggot, Bottle Apostle, Butler’s Wine Cellar

Ramilo Vinhas Velhas 2017 (VR Lisboa)

Casal do Ramilo; photo credit Ramilo

Last February, I discovered Ramilo at Revista de Vinho’s annual wine fair, Essência do Vinho. Specifically, Ramilo Malvasia de Colares 2017, one of my wines of 2020.    I proposed it for Decanter’s Wines of the Year 2020 and it made the prestigious cut.  So I bring good news. Raymond Reynolds – the UK’s leading Portuguese wine importer – is listing a range of wines from the brothers Ramilo – Nuno and Pedro.  This excellent Castelão comes from 50-year-old vines planted by their grandfather, together with a splash of other red and white varieties (identity mostly unknown).   Sourced from Quinta do Casal do Ramilo between Sintra and Mafra, the proximity to the coast and sheltered, south-facing slopes on clay/limestone conspire to produce a wine with an exciting interplay of fruit and freshness.  The proximity to the coast shows with a smack of iodine/salt and sour, skinsy fruit – wild cherry, damson and sloes, bramble and hedgerow (rosehip?)  The tannins are granular/sandy – a touch spicy and rustic – in a good way.  Opening up, it reveals white pepper, inky violets and earth.  The iodine – an undertow – follows through on the long, fresh finish.  The high acid line makes for a certain austerity yet, at the same time, the fruit has tremendous vivacity and intensity.  Like Ramilo Malvasia de Colares 2017, this arresting wine had me from the get go.  The grapes were hand picked, sorted and de-stemmed, then foot-trodden and naturally fermented in a traditional stone lagar for one week. 13%  RRP £26.34

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