Have You Ever Had a Pinot Grigio Rosé (Ramato)?
I know its winter and I should be focusing my palate toward high intensity red wines that go so well this time of year, but something grabbed my attention recently – a Pinot Grigio Rosé, or more appropriately Pinot Grigio Ramato. My curiosity was peeked as I had just heard that a Texas winery was starting to make a Pinot Grigio Rosé. However, I really had never tasted one, let alone, one from this grape’s native Italy.
If you are like many people, you just think of Pinot Grigio as a light-bodied white wine without thinking much about what the grapes actually looked like on the vine when fully ripened.
Well, Pinot Grigio grapes actually have grayish to red-skinned fruit. The grape’s juice has a light golden color, but can also have light shades of tan. When made with minimal skin contact as in Attems Pinot Grigio, the wine has a light yellow color and rich lemon-lime citrus to floral characteristics balanced with light, early-season pear. Made in this style, Pinot Grigios like Attems have been some of the most popular white wines of the last decade.
However, the reddish skins of the Pinot Grigio grape can also yield a pinkish hue in the finished wine. The longer the time of grape skin contact with the juice, the darker and more intense the color until it reaches a red-orange coppery tint. This style of Pinot Grigio Rosé is far less common in the United States, at least today.
When I voiced my surprise about this style of Pinot Grigio on Twitter, Italian wine aficionado, tradesperson and writer, Alfonso Cevola (On the Wine Trail in Italy) responded saying, “This style of wine is called Ramato referring to its coppery color. Thirty years ago, I tried to sell Pinto Grigio rosé, but people thought the wine had ‘turned’.”
It sounded to me like, back then, it was a hard sell. But, he finished saying, “Now it’s all the rage.”
The coppery-colored wine I tasted was Attems Cupra Ramato Pinot Grigio. It continues a traditional style found in the region around Venice of making a Pinot Grigio rosé. The name “Ramato,” means “coppery”, and has been a term that referred to Pinot Grigio made in contract with the red grape skins long enough to yield the wine’s characteristic color. Typically, the grapes are macerated and the juice remains in contact with the skins for over a day.
The Attems Cupra Ramato was an interesting augmentation of Attems more conventional white Pinot Grigio. It has a richer, fruitier bouquet yielding a tart cranberry note combined with its citrus character. On the palate, the flavor follows the aromas and also had a weightier feel and the dryness of skin tannins. This latter quality worked well with our evening’s fare – baked salmon.