Ramos Pinto Douro DOC Urtiga
January 19, 2023, James Suckling
“Plenty of praline, toasted oak and sweet spices on the nose. Full-bodied with fine tannins. Rich and layered with a creamy core of dark fruit at the center. Flavorful finish. Drink or hold.”
October 31, 2022, Sarah Ahmed
“As densely planted as the fruit is concentrated, at 12,500 vines/ha Urtiga’s centenarian vines eke out less than half a kilo each. With 63 different varieties, this heavyweight is multi-layered, with ripe blackcurrant and forest fruits, plums seguing into prunes, dark chocolate violet creams, spice, warm earth and minerals. Iron filing tannins and balanced acidity keep the fruit on a rail.”
The Wine Advocate
July 29, 2022, Mark Squires
“The 2018 Urtiga is a field blend (some 63 grapes in the blend) aged in French oak for 18 months, mostly in 2,000-liter vessels. This comes in at 15.6% alcohol. These are pre-phylloxera, centenarian vines. This seems shockingly fresh for a wine so big and so ripe. The fruit is fragrant and expressive, simply delicious. The tannins are not too hard. It is rather polished, but without a doubt, the key here is the big fruit, some raspberries, cherries and other red fruits in a surprisingly nuanced package. This seems irresistible and delicious but also elegant, despite its size. It looks like a big winner. How well will it age? Well, it's the first vintage, there is no track record and the tannins are moderately ripe, but I'd bet 20 years would be safe. It might do more, but I doubt it will do a lot less. Overall, let's see this make its case in the cellar both in aging ability and in terms of holding its balance. Right at the moment, it is very promising. There were 3,100 bottles produced.”
The history behind the Urtiga vineyard, one of the oldest and most prestigious properties in the Douro, is closely linked to the history of Quinta do Bom Retiro for geographical reasons. The history of Quinta do Bom Retiro dates back prior to 1750. In 1789, Her Majesty Queen D. Maria I authorised its inclusion in the “Zona de Feitoria”, the demarcated winegrowing region. Ramos Pinto bought this Quinta in 1919, and the adjacent Urtiga vineyard in 1933.
The texture of Urtiga’s soil is silty loam with natural high acidity. Planted on pre-phylloxera terraces built over 200 years ago, the average age of the vines exceeds 100 years and it comprises 8 acres with about 12,500 vine stocks. The plot is located at an altitude ranging from 290 to 324 metres and the sun's exposure is mainly from the east. The Urtiga vineyard has 63 different indigenous varieties, production is 100% organic and biodynamic practices have been implemented since 2017. With the help of a technology firm, Ramos Pinto has developed an application with the aid of GPS which locates and monitors each stock, to control phenological conditions, the number of bunches of grapes, the weight of the branches, resistance to drought, rot and heat.
Urtiga 2018 was made from judiciously selected grapes and is the maximum expression of the Douro's unique terroir.
Following regular visits to the vineyard, a date for the harvest is set, when a specialist team removes all the grapes that are not in perfect condition. Harvest begins in the morning of the following day. The grapes reach the winery in small boxes where the bunches are triaged, destemmed, crushed and forwarded to the granite lagar. Here, the grapes are trodden by foot, in the traditional manner. An initial tread on the first day is followed by the daily punch down of the cap, before pressing. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are completed without skins in French oak vats. The wine was aged in wood for 16 months, 90% in small wooden vats and the remaining 10% in new French oak casks. The expression of this vineyard was enhanced by the maturation in the small wooden vats, and the French oak casks balanced and fined-tuned all dimensions. Once bottled, the wine aged for over two years.
Urtiga 2018 is a vivid crimson in color, with bright red reflexes and a fresh and profound aroma. This is followed most elegantly by a wide aromatic range: wood, wet soil, red berries and rock minerals. After being swirled, spicy aromas such as green pepper and clove are added to the fruit. The base note of this wine, which is its elegance, remains in the mouth with a silky entrance in which red fruit such as strawberries and cherries acquire prominence in crescendo. Urtiga 2018 has a long structured finish with mature tannins and extraordinary freshness and vivacity.
The cool temperatures and regular rainfall throughout the winter and early spring delayed the start of the growing cycle. Although the summer was dry, with high temperatures, water reserves in the soil provided the ideal concentration of aromas, mature tannins, and excellent acidity levels. Urtiga's vineyard reacted exceptionally well to the year's climate conditions because of the age and the number of grape varieties present. The harvest of this unique vineyard took place on September 20th.
We recommend pairing Urtiga 2018 with game, such as a partridge or wild boar. It is also excellent with oven-baked fish such as grouper or sea bass.
Cases Produced: 3,100 bottles