What is Ramato Wine?
by Daniel (Wine Specialist)
A closer look at everyone’s favorite rose…er… copper-colored…um, orange wine? Ramato means ‘auburn’ or ‘copper’ and is a traditional style of vinifying Pinot Grigio in Friuli (northeast Italy, south of Austria and West of Slovenia). Pinot Grigio is most likely a mutation of Pinot Noir and can have a skin color that ranges from almost white to blue, to light purple with brown and sometimes almost black.
So, Ramato Pinot Gri(s)gio finds itself in a funny place in the wine world.
Pressed juice, off the skins, is white. This is true for most black-skinned varietals, though some exist with black flesh. It’s easy to understand why a red/black grape is used to make red wine, extended skin contact adds flavor, tannin, depth and complexity.
But there are surprises. Pinot Noir makes delicious white wine. As does Nero d’Avola. Merlot can as well.
What about Rosé?
Rosé has been on the ascent for several years and all hues of rosé are available, from pale pink rose water, through onion skin, all the way to dark (plum-almost) red wine - a different article all together.
Rosé is accomplished a few ways but for the purpose of this write-up we will stick to two styles.
- The first, maceration, where the juice is left to rest on the skins for a period of time and then the entire batch is finished as ros´ wine.
- The second is a saignee or bled method wherein a portion of red wine juice is bled off after contact with the skins and seeds. It is a byproduct of red winemaking because the goal in saignee is increasing the concentration of red wine.
Orange wine. What?
And then there is orange wine. Here we either have white varietals that see extended skin contact (some for over 100 days, others for mere hours) or white varietals that have dark skin and bleed color into the juice during pressing.
Pinot Gri(s)gio. Back on track...
Back to the land of Pinot Gri(s)gio. In the United States, Pinot Grigio is almost always white wine; infact, the category is dominated by the white version. But, traditionally the wine was vinified in the Ramato style.
Why? Well, the winegrowers believed that this varietal needed that skin contact to be fully appreciated. Too much and the wine gets bitter, but not enough and the wine loses its identity. Today, with skilled winemakers all over the globe and Pinot Grigio planted wherever it will take root, one can find really pretty crisp and clean white wine. With Ramato you’ll notice the wine takes on texture and depth with a touch of tannin and hint of bitterness. They can be really special wines and highly versatile.
So if you’re feeling like Autumn means my wine should have a little more stuffing, but not yet feeling like something big, Ramato is the way to go.