wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

abut12.gif (3207 bytes)
abut10.gif (3636 bytes)

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


Portugal's Alentejo
Part 6: Joćo Portugal Ramos

Joćo Ramos is one of the success stories of the modern Portuguese wine industry. In a relatively short time his eponymous winery has grown from a small base to one of the largest in the Alentejo – and with their modern upfront fruit and clear varietal labelling his wines have been a hit on the export markets.

Ramos started his career with Quinta do Carmo in 1985; subsequently this property was sold to Lafite. As a sign of how the Alentejo has grown as a region, when he made his first wine in 1986, there were just 15 hectares of vines planted west of Estremoz, whereas now there are some 400.

Although he developed quite a reputation for his consulting work, Joćo wanted to do his own thing. He started acquiring vineyard land in 1990, and in 1997 built his first winery by renovating a building on an old property which now has been fully renovated and houses the current operation, with two separate wineries. By the time of first vintage, he had 6 hectares of his own and 45 hectares under contract, where he managed the vineyard work. Now he has 150 hectares of his own and 200 under contract. Initially he had to accept all the grapes brought to the winery; now the boot is on the other foot. The first harvest was of 400 tons, and now it is 2600.

We had a look round the vineyards, which are well managed and planted at 4000 vines/hectare. There’s an extensive green harvest each year, with 3 tons/hectare lost in the pursuit of quality. We spotted a few grouse, but Joćo – a keen hunter – explained that because of the very dry conditions there were far fewer than normal in 2005. As well as hunting, Joćo was in his day an accomplished football player.  

We returned to the winery to find things a little stressed. Joćo’s wife is entertaining a visiting party of 20 or from Turkey, among whom are some potential wine importers, buyers and merchants. The smell of cooking permeates the tasting area, something which Joćo is unhappy about. He also gets into trouble for making some quips about his visitors during lunch. We focus on the wines, though, which are uniformly of a high standard, and commercially very astute.

Marques de Borba White 2004
Fresh, fruity, modern, bright and full. A really nice commercial white wine. Very good 84/100

Joćo Portugal Ramos Antćo Vaz 2004
This barrel-fermented white has a very rich toasty nose with bracingly fresh fruit. The palate is fruity and fresh with a toasty oak overlay. Slightly rough-edged; a commercial style. Very good+ 86/100

Marques de Borba Tinto 2004
Nice open berry fruit nose with hints of caramel and spice. The open palate shows supple berry fruit. A nice glugger. Very good 84/100

Joćo Portugal Ramos Aragonźs 2004
Very nice sweet forward fruit here with a chocolatey, spicy edge. Chewy, dense palate shows seductive ripe fruit with nice spiciness. Charming. Very good+ 87/100

Joćo Portugal Ramos Trincadeira 2004
Primary sweet, pure red fruits dominate the nose which has a chocolatey richness. Chewy, spicy palate has nice structure. Accessible and pleasing, but with nice tannic grip. Very good+ 88/100

Joćo Portugal Ramos Tinta Caida 2004
Very forward nose is currently dominated by woody, spicy notes. The palate shows a good density of spicy, tight red fruits. Very structured; needs time. Very good+ 86/100

Joćo Portugal Ramos Syrah 2004
Tight, spicy savoury nose with lots of forward fruit. There’s a rounded character to the fruit on the palate, together with some tannic structure. A very nice wine with lots of promise for mid-term development. Very good/excellent 90/100

Joćo Portugal Ramos Vila Santa 2004
Very youthful nose is tight, woody and spicy. The palate is concentrated and dense with lots of structure (firm dry tannins) under the generous fruit. Satisfying, rich, bold and full. Very good/excellent 91/100

Quinta da Viēosa 2002
A single vineyard wine that’s a blend of Aragonźs and Petit Verdot. Dense, full and spicy, this dark coloured wine shows vivid, intense, structured red and black fruits with a chocolatey, spicy edge. Delicious stuff. Very good/excellent 93/100

Marques de Borba Reserva 2000
Appealing, open, slightly spicy smooth nose with a bit of tarriness. Classy and rich. The palate is smooth and spicy with dark tarry notes. Nicely evolved and quite stylish. Very good/excellent 92/100

Back to top