Ramandolo wine guide
Ramandolo is a charming sweet passito wine, with intoxicating and sumptuous aromas, a nectar born from dried grapes that is produced with great care and craftsmanship in the villages of Ramandolo (hence the name) and Tarcento, the most popular wine-growing area north of all Friuli. We are in the province of Udine, in the Nimis area, not far from the border with Slovenia.
The particularity of Ramandolo is not its sweetness. Sure it is a delicious sugary wine full of dried fruit, candied fruit, spices and withered flowers, all typical characteristics of great dessert wines, but what is surprising are the freshness, minerality and aromatic depth. But it is not aromatic like a Moscato or a Malvasia or a Gewurz, it does not have that arrogance, it is an elegant and subtle wine, but of great breadth. The reason for this great finesse is Botrytis Cinerea, the noble rot which, if kept at bay and controlled and measured out by doing more and more harvests, can give unique suggestions of medicinal herbs and spices and alpine herbs. But the question is always the same: it is thanks to the territory.
Ramandolo wine production area: the importance of the few
And it is precisely the position that makes Ramandolo so velvety, complex and deep, which is produced with 100% Verduzzo Friulano grape. The proximity of the Alps that protect from the cold north winds, the fairly high average altitude approaching 320 meters above sea level and the soils based on the famous oceanic marls make Ramandolo wine unique and unrepeatable, so much so that we can speak of a real particular terroir. These marls, called “ponche”, are clays that constituted the seabed millions of years ago, while today they give great minerality to the Verduzzo Friulano grapes. The winds arrive light to cool all summer and push away the humidity but leave some of it, ideal for bringing out the noble rot on the grapes, which remain hanging on the plants even until the second half of November.
How is Ramandolo DOCG wine made?
The production of Ramandolo is long and painstaking, however, everything starts from healthy vines, grown in the hills, in areas not too humid, beaten by winds and. In this way, the clusters can ripen on the plant, dry out, and then attack Botrytis Cinerea. The clusters lose even more than 60% of water: sugars, flavors and polyphenols are concentrated crazily. The bunches are harvested several times to allow time for the mold to act gradually and then they are pressed, the must is fermented and aged in wood, usually used in second and even third passage barriques. The wood, during aging, must only serve as a container for oxygenating and rounding, but it must not release tannins or coarse hints of vanilla and tobacco, otherwise, the delicacy of the bouquet would be hidden.
What does Ramandolo wine taste like?
The bouquet is splendid for its breadth, but don’t think of an assault, but rather of a whispered poem among the vineyards, then it passes into a Sicilian pastry full of candied fruit and arrives in a greenhouse full of plants. The fruit is warm and ripe, fleshy with peaches in alcohol, nuts to no end with slightly oxidized and decadent tones. Candied citrus fruits, cinnamon, white chocolate, withered yellow flowers such as broom and chamomile, and the magic of noble rot is there. The subtle reminder of medicinal herbs gives the wine austerity and firmness. there is like a skeleton of aromatic herbs that raise the wine, make it noble and interrupt the monotony of sweet and sensual aromas, creating a great contrast.
On the palate it is sweet, velvety, syrupy, but never redundant, every flavor, every fruity nuance is cut by a spice, by a more subtle and fresh memory. The freshness and minerality are exceptional, they elevate the wine, making it always snappy and taut, never mushy or plump. It is not pleased, on the contrary, it has an excellent gustatory development, dominated by mineral tones. Out of the ordinary persistence and complexity.
The beauty of this sweet wine is that despite being a niche product, it still doesn’t reach crazy prices. With 30-40 euros you will buy amazing bottles. Obviously, we are not talking about an everyday wine, but of fine nectar that comes from a long and expensive process, where more than half of the harvest is sacrificed.
Ramandolo food pairings
We have two possibilities: combine it with spoon desserts, apple pie, coconut biscuits, tiramisu and a thousand other desserts. Or savory dishes that need a sweet companion, such as aged cheeses, blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Roquefort or Tuscan terrines.