Saturday, July 17, 2021

Il Ramato

"Ramato" means copper and "amato" means loved one so Il Ramato could mean "the copper loved one." Or something like that.  In any event this intriguing amber colored Pinot Grigio is more than just its veneer.  While its clothing is visually stunning, what's inside is even better.

As everyone knows, Pinot Grigio is perhaps the simplest of white wines, making it perfect for our hot summer days.  But Il Ramato doesn't fit that type.  It is sourced from the Friuli-Veneto Giulia wine appellation in the northeast corner of Italy where pinot is qualitatively better than elsewhere in Italy.  Sure it still has the mild flavor profile; but typically wine from this region has more character than you would expect.  This region is so esteemed by the wine world its white wines are valued on a plane with Piedmont and Tuscan reds.  

This is where things get really interesting.  Ramato isn't fruity in style like most pinots.  It's decidedly deeper and more savory than traditional Pinot Grigio and engages the taster with the long winey flavors Euro-wine lovers crave.  It's actually a throwback to winemaking from the early twentieth century when the inherent grape colors and flavors were allowed to shine.  

Here's some backstory - The pinot grape is actually a family of grapes each possessing a shared unstable genome.  It has a tendency to mutate, not only showing a variety of colors but sometimes showing that diversity all on the same vine.  Even striped pinot grapes are known to occur!

On any given day a half dozen different pinot types may be found in the local wine marketplace.  The types we are most familiar with are Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio but there are many many more.  

Now for a little known fact - Genetically, Chardonnay is even half pinot!

Anthocyanins are the phenolic compounds in plants that give color to their fruit.  Pinot Grigio grapes on the vine may be a light pink, bluish gray or a very light brown.  In the glass those phenolics provided by the grape skins give a wine its tannic grip that engages us when we taste.  The heart healthy anti-oxidants we get from phenolics is a bonus we all appreciate.   

Il Ramato pinot grapes are hand harvested before going into a twelve hour cold maceration.  They are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks followed by five months of aging on the lees with frequent battonnage.  It's in that five months of stirring the lees that this wine becomes what it is.  That chemistry both enriches the flavors and brings out the inherent colors of the grapes. 

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