WHAT: A few weeks ago a friend asked whether I had ever heard of orange wine. I had not, until now.
The Attems Cupra Ramato 2011 is a Pinot Grigio in which the juice remains in contact with the grape skins for 36 hours, giving the wine a distinctive coppery color. (“Ramato” means coppery.) To some people the color looks orange. Most Pinot Grigio is fermented without skins and has a yellow-green color.
Cupra Ramato continues a tradition dating back hundreds of years, when Pinot Grigio was referred to by this term in contracts in the Republic of Venice. Novelty aside, this is a very good wine at a fair price.
It opens with a rich, fruity floral bouquet leading to flavors of cherry, strawberry, apricot and some hint of minerals. The layers of flavor keep opening up as the wine warms in the glass. There is a long, pleasant aftertaste. And at 12.5 percent alcohol, you can comfortably drink a lot of it. Most of the wine is fermented in stainless steel vats, but 15 percent spends four months in barriques, two months in steel and one month in the bottle. Then it is all blended together to make an outstanding wine.
WINERY: The Attems family has been making wine in Italy’s Collio wine region in the northeast for more than 900 years. In 1106, the bishop of Salisbury gave the family an estate for the purpose of cultivating vines and making wine.
For generations, Attems has been the pre-eminent name in wine production in the area of Collio known as Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which is between the Alps and Adriatic Sea. The estate produces Ribolla Gialla, Friuliano, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Merlot and Picolit.
In 1964, Douglas Attems founded the Wine Consortium of Collio, which he led as president until 1999. In 2000, Attems joined with one of the most famous families in Italian wine, Marchesi de Frescobaldi.
GOES WITH: Teri and I thought this wine went nicely with fried chicken wings, onion rings and a salad. I think it works as an aperitif, or with all kinds of grilled fish or chicken. The winery also recommends pairing it with fatty fish or with delicate or vegetable-based antipasti.