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I’ll Drink to That: João Nicolau de Almeida of Ramos-Pinto

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Episode 310 of I’ll Drink to That! has been released and it features João Nicolau de Almeida of Ramos-Pinto winery in Portugal.

João Nicolau de Almeida’s father created Barca Velha, which is far and away Portugal’s most renowned red wine. For his own part, work that João did in studying grape varieties in the Douro was used as the basis for massive replanting and a reshaping of vineyards in the Douro, very much affecting what we think of as Port today in the modern era. Taken together, these are some of the most important changes that have happened in Portugal’s wine industry in the 20th century. This interview addresses both topics, and it arrives as João prepares to retire and pass off his own work to another generation. He remembers clearly the decisions that his father made in the production of a dry red wine from the Douro, and he is able to explain them in the context of a larger history of Douro wine. He also recalls the confluence of events that led his experiments with grape varieties to reshape the vineyards of the Douro area. And those remembrances are truly remarkable as well for the kind of verbal flourish that João adds to them. There is the sense, as João retires, that we aren’t just seeing a capable winemaker move on to the next phase of his life, but a great humanist as well.

This episode features a Warm Up from Erin on the magic of the Douro.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine