Next month I am hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend as we look at Rosés. But today I want to talk to you about Ramato wines.
I used to think Rosés were kind of blah. But the more I explored the category, the more I recognized there is so much more to a Rosé. One of my favorites is a wine that used to go by the name 'orange'; but as it's not made with oranges, vintners are actually calling what they are: skin-fermented or skin-macerated.
And my absolute favorite of those is an Italian skin-fermented Pinot Grigio, a Ramato. Ramato means 'coppered' in Italian and refers to a delicious copper-hued Italian farmhouse-style wine. I pour them as an unexpected Rosé alternative. Because the skin is allowed to macerate with the juice, there is a toothiness to the wine. They typically also have a distinct blend of aromas and flavors of spice and fruit.
I poured two different Ramati to share with you...
2021 Domo Arigato (Mr. Ramato)
Ramati have been produced in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of Italy where Pinot Grigio has been grown for hundreds of years it's the Italian name for Pinot Gris, a mutated varietal from white Pinot grapes. And while this type of wine is tied to the Friuli region, the style is made in other parts of Italy and enjoying an emergence in other parts of the world, such as three distinct areas of the Central Coast: Paso Robles, Santa Barbara Highland, and the Edna Valley.
Field Recordings in a winery in Paso Robles where Jake and I spent a few days to celebrate my fiftieth birthday last year. Winemaker Andrew Jones worked as a vine nursery fieldman and these wines are from vineyards he has helped to plant, hence his field recordings. The 2021 Domo Arigato (Mr. Ramato) is not from a single-vineyard, but is a Ramato-style wine blended from the fruits of the Greengate, Derbyshire, Jack Ranch vineyards.
This wine is beautifully copper-hued, after nearly two months macerating with the skins. After maceration, the skins are pressed out and the wine ages for six months in French oak and acacia barrels. On the nose, the wine has aromas of summer stone fruit - peaches, apricots, and plum - and herbs such as thyme. On the palate, the wine is fuller than I expected with a sweetness of peach jam and a hit of freshly ground pepper.
Olivia Rosato dell'Emilia IGT Bergianti 2021
I located this Ramato - Olivia Rosato dell'Emilia IGT Bergianti 2021 - from Italy at a local-to-me market. In 2008, Gianluca Bergianti founded Terrevive with 16 hectares in the village of Gargallo di Carpi just outside Modena. He has been operating according to strict biodynamic principles since the very beginning.
This wine is made from an almost extinct grape - Olivia or Olivone. One of the ancient Lambrusco varietals, its name derives from the olive-like shape of its fruit, and it is still widespread in the Reggio Emilia and Modena areas. Bergianti's grapes are nearly three-quarters of a century old. From those he does a light maceration before fermenting and aging in steel.
This wine pours a brilliant copper color. On the nose, floral aromas and fresh berries abound. On the palate, there is a slightly bitter sapidity with a refreshing minerality.
What Goes with Ramato?
As Ramato is an unexpected alternative to Rosé, my pairings are also a little bit unexpected. I matched these wines with heftier dishes. With the Domo Arigato, I made a pot of...
On the drive home from Paso Robles, Jake mentioned butter chicken. I am easily swayed by mere suggestion! And I always love butter chicken with skin-fermented wines. This is a riff on a process I learned from my friend Priya. I have added in carrots, celery, and potatoes to make this more veg-heavy. You can certainly buy naan, but if you are interested in making your own, here's my Einkorn Naan.
1 pound organic chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes
freshly ground salt and pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 Tablespoon-sized chunks
1 large onion, peeled and diced (approximately 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 Tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
3” stick cinnamon
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock, divided
1 Tablespoon chili paste (optional)
1 cup organic heavy cream
cooked rice and naan (my Einkorn Naan) for serving
In a large mixing bowl, massage the salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and turmeric into the chicken. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a large, flat-bottom pan. Stir in the onions, ginger, and garlic and cook until the mixture is aromatic. Add the remaining butter and stir in the carrots, celery, potatoes, and chicken. Stir in the garam masala, remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Pour in 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
Pour in the tomato sauce and remaining chicken stock. Add in the chili paste, if using; we like our butter chicken a little bit spicy. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes - until the sauce is beginning to thicken. Pour in the cream, whisk to combine, and simmer until that it thickened to your liking.
Serve garnished with cooked rice. Enjoy!
With my Italian Ramato, I made Quinoa-Stuffed Butternut Squash, Peel-and-Eat Shrimp, and a Wilted Raddichio with Warm Bacon Dressing. Stay tuned for the recipes!