Tried & tasted: Ramos Pinto Vintage Port 2011

ramos pinto Vintage 2011- 3

Resuming my Vintage Port 2011 reports, Ramos Pinto have produced a superlative wine.

Composed of 50% Touriga Nacional, 32% Touriga Franca, 5% field blend (old vines), 5% Sousao, 5% Tinta da Barca and 3% Tinta Barocca, it was sourced from three quintas – Ervamoira, Bom Retiro & Urtiga.

The Sousao and Tinta da Barca break new ground for Ramos Pinto and are the result, explained Joao Nicolau d’Almeida, “of now making a blend with empirical and scientific knowledge” (as opposed to focusing on those varieties he and his uncle identified as the Douro’s top five in a game-changing research project presented to the University of Trás-os-Montes in 1981 – click here for details).

You’ll find my tasting note below after Ramos Pinto’s vintage report. Click here,  here and here for earlier 2011 Vintage Port reports (Sogrape, Symington Family Estates & Niepoort)

Ramos Pinto vintage report

“Overall, 2011 was marked by low rainfall and relatively fresh temperatures, except for the early summer heat wave.Indeed, germination, followed by blooming took place two weeks earlier than in 2010, giving rise to major vegetative growth in late April, early May. This advance was maintained throughout the summer, forcing the initial harvests to start in early August.Primary infections of downy mildew in late April were immediately circumscribed by sulphate, limiting secondary infections which, along with the major expansion of vegetation, could have resulted in a great loss of production as with many vineyards in the region. However, it was really the persistent drought and a heat wave at the end of June that caused the most damaged to certain vineyards or reduced the average weight of the bunches.In short, quantities almost identical to the vintage of 2009 were harvested, yet 23% lower than those of 2010. Thus, the yield of Quinta dos Bons Ares remained stable, that of Ervamoira was reduced by 22% and that of Bom Retiro declined 38%. Mainly the Touriga Francesa, Barroca and Mistura grapes were those that suffer most from the weather conditions, with yield losses of 40% compared to 2010.

The red wines coming from plantations in Ervamoira since 2001 show a clear improvement in quality, namely the Touriga Nacional grapes that give rise to very elegant wines with unusual freshness. Some Touriga Francesa wines give the impression of being a little light but remain flavourful. Most of the wines from this estate are fresh, concentrated and have many aromas.

Quinta do Bom Retiro (Cima Corgo) also had an increase in quality for Touriga Nacional vines planted in 2001. The latter produced more complex and interesting wines than those from other years. As for the older vines, they were picked at a higher temperature, resulting in more mature and heavy wines.

 The red wines of Quinta dos Bons Ares (Upper Douro, an altitude of 600m) were all deliberately picked at high temperatures in order to obtain a ripeness rich in aromas. These wines are aromatically fresher and less concentrated than those produced by other estates. They have, however, different and interesting characteristics: minerality, a fresher fruit and optimal acidity.”

Ramos Pinto Vintage Port 2011

An elegant, violet-laced but very well structured Port. It shows great depth and layer to its juicy infinity of black and red cherry and berry fruits. A firm backbone of tannin lends gravitas and a touch of grip to the finish. Great proportion/balance. Very good indeed. 19.5% abv, 90g/l residual sugar.

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