Who remembers ramato?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Simon Woolf, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. I'd love to hear from anyone of a certain age who remembers the Ramato style of Pinot Grigio from the Veneto (ie: the pale copper/pink coloured style made with a tiny bit of skin contact, often in a rather oxidative style)

    I say "remembers" because its a style that I believe has vastly declined in popularity over the last few decades. I have anecdotal evidence that Ramato Pinot Grigio was popular in the 1970s and early 1980s, but then tailed off rapidly as paler, more technically "correct" wines were in the ascendent.

    Also anecdotally, it's my belief that Ramato as it was bottled in the 1950s, 60s, 70s was usually made with 4 - 24 hours of skin contact, and often ended up being quite oxidised (whether intentionally I'm not really sure).

    I can't find any documented evidence of any of this. OCW has the merest mention.

    What seems to be happening now, in an age when extended skin maceration of white wines is once again popular, is that some producers (both in Friuli, Veneto and further afield) are bringing Ramato wines to the market - but these are now being made with much more extended skin contact than (I think?) they would have been back in the day.

    eg: La Vigne di Zamo's Pinot Grigio ramato (macerated for 4 days), or Channing's Daughters Ramato (macerated 10-12 days).

    As far as I can see, any "true" Ramatos still on the market are simple budget wines. I tasted Tenuta di Blasig's Ramato a couple of years back. It was pretty terrible, obvious oxidation, no sense of freshness whatsoever.
  2. Produttori di Cormons still makes one. I had a glass a long time ago in situ and it was a completely forgettable wine. There are a few others in the area, but I can't remember exactly who else produces this type of wine.
    Simon Woolf likes this.
  3. About 10 years ago I was a regular buyer of La Specogna Pinot Grigio ramato. Haven’t web it in a White.
  4. We sell quite a lot of Orsogna's version, particularly to the on trade. Very fruit forward, not at all oxidative, not I don't believe a very long maceration. Shout next time you're over if you fancy trying a bottle.
  5. The Ramato from Specogna is very good although like Charles I've not tasted it in a while. I believe that they also make a Pinot Grigio Ramato Riserva which is produced using a solera type system.
  6. Interesting.. would be very curious to try it!

    It seems like maybe reports of Ramato's death are greatly exaggerated!
  7. I’m another one time fan of la Specogna, which I used to buy from Liberty Wines.

    There is a wine which Yapps sell which I also like, a Pinot Gris from Reuilly made by Gérard Cordier. The style is called Oeil de Perdrix (partridge eye, but you knew that) and the colour is described as onion skin by some. It is remarkably similar to Ramato.

    Of course, there are Champagnes called “œil de Perdrix”, and some Swiss pinks have that faint touch. I’ve had two or three so labelled from the Geneva vineyards, but I think they gave up that label so it could be exclusively used as the speciality of Neuchâtel.

    Whether “Oeil de Perdrix” and Ramato are effectively the same method, I’m not sure, but both involve a very short skin maceration.
    Mark Priestley likes this.
  8. I suspect that I may have had a Ramato wine earlier this year. I had been at an in-store tasting where I came away with two very distinctive items, startlingly, a pinot gris and a bottle of gin. Both were remarkable for their distintiveness and very different from anything I've had in their respective genres. I cannot remember the name of the Italian pinot gris producer producer (the bottle has been put away) but I had thought that it might have been an "orange" wine. Now, from what I've read on this thread, it occurs to me that the pinot gris may be a ramato wine.

    Coincidentally, also earlier this year, I bought a wine called 'Oeil de Perdrix' from Belle Glos, a California producer that specializes in pinot noir. I thought it was just a name, meaning "eye of the partridge", not a wine making technique. One learns something every day.

    Thanks ........................... Mahmoud.
  9. Interesting that you mention orange wines, Mahmoud. It’s all just skin contact after all. Although this statement is way over simplified it’s almost a scale from a hint of colour to orange. I think with more contact PG goes from ramato to bronze.
  10. In an attempt to try to clear up confusion:

    "Oeil de Perdrix" refers to a very light rosé style that may have originated in Burgundy, but is now only popular in Neuchâtel, Switzerland (where it has a legal classification). It's a wine made from Pinot Noir, with just a few hours of skin contact to give a light salmon pink hue to the wine.

    "Ramato" refers to a (lit) copper or bronze coloured wine made from the white (albeit pink-skinned) grape Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, given around 4-24 hours of skin contact before pressing (and mostly therefore before fermentation)

    "Orange wine" at least in the generally accepted modern usage refers to a wine made from white grapes, where the skins are left in contact with the must for some or all of the fermentation - and sometimes longer. So far Canada is the only country with an official classification for orange wines. They call them "macerated white wines" and require a minimum of seven days of skin contact for the wines to qualify.

    A key point I would like to draw attention to is that, at least in my opinion, "Oeil de Perdrix" and "Ramato" very much refer to a specific colour. But the term "Orange wine" refers to a technique - just as with white, red and rosé wine, the end product can be across a whole range of colours, from gold/amber to deep orange to shocking pink if there happens to be Pinot Grigio in the blend!
    Mahmoud Ali likes this.
  11. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Of course Pinot Gris, Gewurz and some other grapes varieties do become distinctly pink as the ripen, and I've seen PG on the vine in Oregon that was a deep red. Often wines made from them will have leeched a very small amount of colour once harvested, even inadvertently, while other winemakers will 'accept' a bit of colour to get the flavour profile they want, and still others will aim for a wine with a bit of blush to its colour.
  12. I was trying not to get too detailed and technical, Simon. I merely wanted to suggest that both styles take a little colour from macération. The comparison was largely for the Loire Pinot Gris labelled Œil de Perdrix, which I originally mentioned. In that case, the two methods are identical and thus the comparison valid.

    The Swiss situation is very political, and interesting, but too obscure for most people here, I think. But of course I come from it knowing several Geneva producers who have had to stop using the term.

    It is an interesting subject. I guess you cover it in your book, or is it for an article?
  13. I'll definitely be mentioning Ramato, as it represented in many ways the last dying embers of Northern Italian macerated white wines, before the revival in the late 1990s.

    Oeil de Perdrix is not really relevant to my book as it's properly a rosé style made from Pinot Noir. Perhaps an artificial division, given Pinot Gris's crossover stataus, but one has to draw the line somewhere.

Share This Page