Porto as the name suggest is famous for their Porto wines so I decided I would like to visit a wine house. A friend recommended I should visit the famous Winehouse of Ramos Pinto.
Funnily enough, Ramos Pinto is not located in Porto but across the bridge in the city of Gaia.
In the cable car on my way down to visit Ramos Pinto. The bridge is visible in the background.
Getting to the Wine House
I took the Metro from the central Station to Jardim do Morro. Getting out I got surprised with this amazing view!
Next to the Metro stop there is a cable car. I love cable cars. I don’t have to walk down! Or better…up! I went inside the main building and bought a return ticket (€8). It came with a voucher for a free port tasting! Result!
I first went inside Ramos Pinto to ask about tours. As luck, would have it there would be a tour a 14:00 in English with a tasting after (€6). I had one hour to burn.
Remembering the voucher in my pocket. I looked on the map where I needed to go and saw it was just around the corner. I went there.
Inside I was greeted by a nice young man from Croatia (unexpected). I learned there are 3 main port types. Red (ruby), white and tawny. I went for a tawny tasting. I had one sip of the port wine when I realized that if I wanted to survive the tasting I should eat something. I ordered ham as suggested by the menu on the table (€3). The combination was divine.
Visiting Ramos Pinto - the Tour
At 13:55 I went inside Ramos Pinto. Only 4 people signed up for the tour, including myself. Sadly it wasn’t allowed to take photographs of any kinds inside the museum (= the old offices). But I did learn some cool things about the founder that I like to share.
This Adriano Ramos Pinto guy was smart. At the age of 21 he started the company in 1880. He was the first to bottle Porto wine instead of selling it in wooden barrels. Labeling the bottles with colorful labels created a huge marketing boom.
Back in the day, it also wasn’t common for ladies to drink wine but it was common for them to buy the wine for the men. So, Adriano came up with a reward system targeting the female market for this reason. For example: buy a crate and you receive a comb. Buy 6 crates and you get a beautiful purse. Luring the ladies into buying his port wines. Pretty slick marketing guy right.
He also made it a rule that the customers of Ramos Pinto should be treated like kings. For his largest customers, he build a thrown in his own office. The client could sit on that while he would sit on a simple wooden stool. In a state of submission. (anything for business! Fantastic).
The offices of Ramos Pinto (as found on google, can't find a source)
The offices are in their original state and you can just smell the grandeur of it all when you are there. It’s a fantastic visit. Highly recommend.
In the Cellar of Ramos Pinto
After the visit we went to the cellar. Pictures were aloud again.
The reason most of the Porto wine cellars are located in Gaia (across the river from Porto) is because the temperature is lower. Facing North, they get way less sun than Porto making it ideal to store Porto wine.
I also learned a cool fact about barrels. If you have a huge barrel that means the wine inside the barrel gets less exposed to air and the wood. It will keep a more fruity flavor profile but when the wine is in a small barrel it will be in contact with the wood a lot more taking over more characteristics of the wood (example: vanilla, herbs, honey). Different wood also gives different flavors. Cool right.
These are small barrels and can hold 640L of Porto wine each
One more cool fact before I wrap this up and it blew my mind when I heard it. I always thought that 30-year old Porto wine would have been in the barrel for 30 years before bottling. This is wrong!
30-years old means that the average age of the Porto wine is 30 years. Because Porto wine is a blended drink it could mean that there is a 50-year old port in the bottle combined with a 10-year old port (or any other combination). As long as it averages to 30 years. This is something I never realized before. The coolest thing.
After the tour, there was a tasting where we could taste a white and a tawny port. Big glasses too! I had a nice conversation with a student from Taiwan drinking it. In the end, I unexpectedly preferred the white port over the tawny port. I thought it had more flavor but maybe that’s because I’m a beginner at drinking Porto wines.
The visit to Ramos Pinto was fantastic! If you ever visiting this beautiful city I would recommend going here.
I slightly intoxicated made my way home :)
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