Ramos Pinto 20 Year Tawny Quinta do Bom Retiro
This wine has a tawny color with a yellow halo that signifies an advanced stage of maturity. This is the genuine color of a 20-year-old cask-aged wine. It has a warm red color with a slight orange tone at the bottom of the glass. There is a lively aroma with a velvety texture. The aromas include those of fruit (grapefruit, apricot, almond, hazelnut and cocoa bean); wood (vanilla, old Port wine casks and phenol), roasted aromas such as cinnamon, caramel and coffee; and ethereal aromas of stearin and iodine. Smooth and dry in the mouth, the wine is complemented by a rich and generous persistence of flavor. It has a fine and delicious attack. The elegance of the first contact with the palate is maintained through a complex sequence of ripe and dried fruits and nuts in a fresh and licorice-like harmony.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The NV RP 20 Year Old Tawny Port Quinta do Bom Retiro is a single-quinta Tawny coming in with 126 grams of residual sugar and a bar-top cork. It was bottled in February 2020. This seems pretty much on track for what the brand normally shows, but it is especially enticing right now. It shows power, depth and spice. There are classic hints of caramel and a fresh feel. That wonderful freshness is what really sells this elegant Tawny and makes it irresistible. It is impeccably balanced. The lift to the fruit gives this some extra juiciness on the bright finish. On opening, it was a bit more ponderous, but it really woke up a couple of days later. This is pricey for a 20 Year, but it is certainly a terrific one. As always, the end-date drinking window is just a placeholder—these are very resistant and age indefinitely if there is no cork problem, although they are ready on release and do not need aging.
Bom Retiro is a historic property on the south side of the Douro River canyon, across the river from Pinhão. It has been owned by Ramos Pinto since 1919 and provides the fruit for this Tawny. The wine’s earthy honey scent suggests its supple textures, while there’s brightness to its orange marmalade flavors, the lasting impression firm, juicy and clean.
Founded by Adriano Ramos Pinto in 1880, Casa Ramos Pinto rapidly became noted, at the time, for its innovative and enterprising strategy. Associated with quality bottled wines, it began operating on the Brazilian market in the early 20th century and quickly became responsible for half of the wine exported to South America, whilst it was still conquering generations of loyal customers in Portugal and Europe. These were the natural results of a forward thinking strategy, based on the modernisation of selection, batching and ageing circuits, and the special care which Adriano Ramos Pinto devoted to the packaging and promotion of his wines.
Aware that the quality of its wines were confined to the earth of the wine producing Douro, Casa Ramos Pinto meticulously studied this Demarcated Region, and eventually became the owners of a number of estates with very special characteristics. The objective was to ensure the control and quality of the whole production process. By perfecting its wines, Ramos Pinto created unique nectars with its own signature.
In 1990, Casa Ramos Pinto became part of the Roederer Group, whose history has identical characteristics. The qualities that gave fame to Casa Ramos Pinto now took on an international dimension.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.