Wine Advocate 87 points - The 2009 RESERVA “VILA SANTA” white is a blend of Arinto, Antao Vaz and Verdelho fermented in French oak. The oak is obvious here, but more as a nuance than a vanilla-drenched wine. Elegant and charming, this has a lot to offer, including good balance, a nicely crafted mid-palate and good focus. Drink now-2012. (Dec 2010)
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Vila Santa was Joao Portugal Ramos’s first wine. The name means “Holy Village,” referring to the nearby ancient city of Estremoz where the famed Miracle of the Roses occurred. In the 13th century, Estremoz was ruled by King Diniz and his wife, Queen Isabel. Isabel was dedicated to helping the poor, but had to hide her generosity from her husband. One day, as Isabel was leaving the castle with an apron full of bread, Diniz appeared and asked to see what she was carrying. Isabel opened her apron, where the bread had miraculously been transformed into roses. Isabel continued her work free from suspicion and was canonized in 1625.
The Vila Santa red blend marries Aragones, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. After harvest, part of the yield is foot trodden in marble troughs, known as lagares, and the remainder is fermented in stainless steel tanks following a long post-fermentation maceration. The blend is aged for nine months in French oak barrels.
Pairs well with hunting birds (pheasant, quail, partridge), roasted or grilled meat, cheese, and delicatessen (foie gras, pate, prosciutto).
Born into a family with a long history of wine production, Joao Portugal Ramos was awarded a degree in agronomy by the Institute of Agronomy in Lisbon . After a period of training at the National Viniculture Studies Centre in Dois Portos, in 1980 he embarked on a career as oenologist in the Alentejo region.Benefiting from the gained knowledge, Joao Portugal Ramos established Consulvinus at the end of the 80’s with the aim of attending to the various requests from several producers all over the country. In this way, from 1989 onwards Consulvinus extended its activity beyond the Alentejo region to Ribatejo, Peninsula de Setubal, Dao, Beiras, Estremadura and Douro. It also participated in the development of distinguished Portuguese wines and revitalized regions that were sinking to oblivion by wine-lovers and consumers.The successes achieved and prizes won by these wines throughout his career have brought him national and international acclaim as one of the main figures responsible for the development of Portuguese wines during the last ten years.In 1990 Joao Portugal Ramos started his personal project by planting the first 5 hectares of vineyards in Estremoz, where he lives since 1988.A consequence of the rules regarding investments in vineyards was the problem of transforming grapes. In a region with high potential for producing quality wines as Borba, he decided to present a project with the aim of transforming his own grapes, as well as grapes originating from rented vineyards and grapes bought in the scope of long-term agreements.In these agreements, the technical management of vineyards, from planting to phytosanitary treatments and choosing the date of harvest, is under the responsibility of the viticultural department.The first harvest dates from 1992 and in the following years the wine was produced in rented buildings. In 1997 vinification took place in the new estate for the first time.The construction of the winery in Estremoz, on Monte da Caldeira, began in 1997. The winery was enlarged in 2000, and nowadays comprises 9.000 square meters (vineyards not included), having a modern vinification technology, a bottling area and cellars with approximately 2000 French, American and Portuguese oak barrels used for ageing the wines. At the winery on Monte da Caldeira the modern is harmoniously combined with the best Portuguese wine-growing tradition, and part of the grapes for more sophisticated wines are still foot trodden.This was the location chosen by Joao Portugal Ramos to make his own wines after a long career as consultant oenologist in wine creation in the main wine-growing regions of Portugal.