production area is in the "Colli Orientali del Friuli"
region to the north of Udine and, more specifically, between
the Local Council areas of Nimis and Tarcento. The vineyard
area totals 60.41 hectares with production of 2355 hectolitres;
currently, thirty companies are registered with the Consortium.
The morphology of these hills is very particular, with steep
slopes – having gradients of more than 30% –
and many operations often can only be performed manually.
The terraces are very narrow - at times less than one metre
- but, given the steep slopes, the vines are rarely shaded.
These vineyards are the furthest north-east in Friuli wine-growing.
The Ramandolo basin is dominated by Mount Bernadia, whose
peak stands 900 metres above sea level and provides shelter
against the cold north winds. The vineyards, all south-facing,
stand at 250 metres above sea level at Torlano, 369 metres
at Ramandolo and 413 metres at Sedilis. The significant
thermal excursions prior to the harvest give rise to a kind
of climatic island that has seen drastic selection of the
grape varieties cultivated; as well as Ramandolo, two other
native varieties ensure excellent results here: Picolit
and Refosco. The land is Eocene marne that is unsuitable
for almost all other crops but highly vocational for wine-growing:
the soil is poor in nutritive substances and ensures production
based on quality rather than quantity.
Ramandolo is made from the yellow clone of Verduzzo Friulano
grapes. The vine - that requires medium, Guyot or "cappuccina"
planting frames - offers good resistance to disease, optimal
growth and good, constant output.
Grape bunches are small, 12-14 centimetres long, with a
short, very sturdy stalk, compact, pyramid-shaped and have
two very evident "wings". The grapes themselves
are small and spherical, with short stalks, evident rings
and a short, well-attached brush. The skin is very hard,
prune-like, with a golden yellow, almost amber colour, with
a characteristic black dot at the apex of the grape itself.
The pulp is succulent, acid, rich in tannin and fleshy.
There are three large, pear-shaped pips.
The grapes are harvested late, very often after brief drying
on the vine; in short, the harvest may even take place at
the end of November. Regulations require that vinification
must be performed in the production area. Years ago, the
“cap riser” technique was used - that is, brief
and delicate maceration that, given the low temperatures
normally recorded hereabouts in Autumn, resulted in a kind
of bland cryo-maceration; today, producers dry the grapes
in special air-conditioned lofts to produce a wine with
impressive aromatic complexity.
Ramandolo has an old gold yellow colour and a bouquet with
hints of acacia, ripe fruit, plums and apricots; the full
taste and big body are very persistent – since the
pleasant sensation remains for some considerable time after
swallowing – the wine is slightly tannic, delightfully
sweet and recalls the agreeable and slightly bitter taste
of chestnut honey with hints of lime-tree honey.
It is a meditation wine and also excellent with foie gras,
liver pâté, San Daniele and Sauris cured hams
and smoked trout; it is equally a superb accompaniment for
cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano,
Pecorino and seasoned Montasio, as well as dry fruit and
pastries and the local Gubana cake.
Best served at a temperature of 10-12°C.