The grapes for Ramandolo are sourced from an area within the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC zone just north of Udine, more precisely from between the communes of Nimis and Tarcento. The Ramandolo area includes 30 wineries that are members of the Consorzi; they cultivate some 60.41 acres under vine, which yield a production of 2,355 hectolitres of wine. The topography of the local hills is very distinctive: slopes here are quite steep, with gradients over 30%, and vineyard operations must often be done completely by hand. The vineyard terraces are extremely narrow, often less than a metre wide, but their tiered arrangement ensures that each has enough sun. Ramandolo represents the exteme northeastern extent of Friulan viticulture.
It should be sipped as a “vino da meditazione,” but is ideal as well served with foie gras, prosciutto San Daniele and di Sauris, or smoked trout; it is no less delicious with Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Pecorino, or aged Montasio, with fruit, and with petits fours and gubana (Cividale’s ring-shaped cake).
The Ramandolo basin is dominated by Mount Bernadia, whose peak, rising to 900 metres, acts as a barrier against cold northerly winds. The vineyards, all south facing, are located between 250 metres, at Torlano, 369 metres at Ramandolo and 413 at Sedilis. The considerable day-night temperature swings that occur before the harvest period have created a kind of climate island that has led to a natural selection of the grape varieties grown there. Besides the verduzzo Friulano grape variety that goes to produce Ramandolo, two other native grapes give excellent results, picolit and refosco. The soils are nutrient-poor Eocene marls, almost useless for growing normal crops, but superbly suited to grapes, yielding high-quality fruit rather than quantity.
CARACTERISTICS OF THE WINE
Ramandolo is made from the yellow clone of verduzzo Friulano. This variety does best in medium-dense plantings, trained to Guyot or double-arched cane (alla cappuccina), and shows fair resistance to disease, high vigour, and good, consistent yields.
The cluster is small, 12-14 cm long, with a short, very tough bunch stem; it is compact, pyramidal, with two obvious wings. The berry is spherical and small, with a short pedicel, prominent torus, and a short brush that resists breaking. The skin is quite tough, with abundant bloom, golden yellow or almost amber in colour, with a characteristic black point at the top of the berry. The pulp is juicy, acidic, tannic, and fleshy. The pips are large and piriform, three in number.
The harvest is late, sometimes as late as the end of November, and the grapes are slightly dried on the vine. Vinification must be carried out in the growing area. Years ago, winemakers employed the “per alzata di cappello” technique, with the skins floating briefly on top of the fermenting must, which was in effect a short maceration on the skins; the low autumn temperatures of the area resulted in a light cryomaceration. Producers today dry the grape clusters in special lofts, which then yield a wine of marked aromatic complexity.
Ramandolo presents an antique yellow-gold hue. It is redolent of acacia, ripe plum and apicot. It is very full and well structured on the palate, with an extremely lengthy progression that lingers long after the wine is swallowed. Slightly tannic, it is wonderfully sweet and conjures up plesant bitterish notes of chestnut honey and nuances of lime blossom honey.
Serve at 10-120C.
Text from the website of the "Consorzio Tutela Ramandolo Nimis UD""