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Denominación de Origen

Ramandolo DOCG

Consorzio Tutela Vini del Ramandolo Docg
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 12, 33045 Nimis (UD), Italia

Tel.: +39 0432/878465


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A ‘vineyard-garden’, then, set up not only to make a truly superb product – and Ramandolo is a wine universally recognised as ranking alongside the most famous sweet wines on the international market – but also to link wine production with other activities within or in any case related to this sector. Such as farm tourism which, in the Nimis area, has achieved development quite impossible to foresee only a few years ago.
But what benefits are on offer to visitors staying in this corner of the ‘Colli Orientali’ in Friuli and the Vine and Wine Park? First and foremost, it should not be forgotten that Nimis is delightfully ‘set’ in a region which Ippolito Nievo rightly defined as a ‘tiny compendium of the Universe’, as if to say that this land has something of everything on offer: an area of a few dozen kilometres embraces the sea, mountains, plains and hills. And this environment was well-known to the great writer who lived in the castle at Colloredo di Monte Albano, so much so that the country hamlet of Torlano di Sopra was the landmark for one of his popular novels and the setting for ‘Conte Pecoraio’. Anyone on holiday in Nimis cannot but visit this view of undoubted beauty opening sheer over the ‘clear, fresh, sweet’ waters of the Cornappo, ‘populated’ with trout, chub and fresh-water shrimps. The two banks of the mountain stream, springing from the Gran Monte, are joined by the Bridge of Angels, a bold structure and one of the most evocative in Friuli. “Nievo’s hamlet”, practically razed to the ground by the earthquake in 1976, has since been rebuilt on the left bank.
Once in the village itself, visitors can easily reach the ancient church of Saints Gervasio and Protasio: it dominates Nimis from a small hill, just across the bridge over the stream – the same one flowing through Torlano – with its thousand-year-old tower.

The matrix of the country church at Nimis – which once extended up to Resia and is now the parish for people living in Povoletto and Taipana – dates from the XII-XIII century, but its origins go back another six-seven centuries, since it was built on the foundations of a small pagan temple. There are precious fresco cycles, restored in the early decades of the XX century by Tita Gori, the painter born precisely in the stone house opposite the church which is now home to one of the most famous osteria of the village.
And the best way to finish a meal? There are the rustic uessuz from the bakery at San Gervasio made to a Mediaeval recipe of the friars who lived in a small monastery in the shadow of the historic country church. But don’t eat them as they are, dry: they are best savoured when ‘dunked’ in ‘Ramandolo’! It is a perfect combination and their flavour will accompany you all the time you stay in the valley of Nimis – and, when you return again, you will surely delight in tasting this simple yet delicious ‘duet’ once more. And the final, magical touch? A perfumed grappa. A ‘Ramandolo’ grappa, naturally, distilled from the pressings of the grapes harvested in this ‘vineyard-garden’.

The Wine

The unusual and delightful balance between tannin, acidity and sweetness, the old-gold colour and the bouquet recalling dried apricots and chestnut honey make Ramandolo the ideal wine for relaxation and meditative intimacy.
Its strong character and pleasantly sweet yet full-bodied flavour set off by delicate sensations of aromatic essences are unforgettable; Ramandolo is an ideal accompaniment for San Daniele cured ham served with ripe figs, lard, Nimis salame, seasoned cheeses, smoked trout, foie gras and, of course, Uessuz biscuits, Ramandolini, Gubana cake and Epiphany titbits.
Made from one of the oldest grape varieties grown in Friuli and served during the Synod of 1409 to Pope Gregory XII, Ramandolo today is a DOC wine soon to be awarded DOCG recognition.
The south-facing vineyards cloak the gentle hills around the towns of Nimis and Tarcento – the land of the ancient Celts and Longobards, in the Province of Udine, Friuli.
Production is currently restricted to just 285,000 bottles/year.

... An obvious question comes to mind at this stage: which is the optimal wine? Sadly, for the time being, the answer can only be inductive, indicating as ‘optimal’ the wine with the highest anti-oxidant capacity. On this basis, it is maintained that red wines are preferable.But it must be added that a definitive scientific answer to the question has not yet been reached. Then there are red wines with only a modest content of anti-oxidants and white wines which are particularly rich. In this regard, our laboratory experience suggests that Ramandolo could be defined as an ‘almost red’ – although such a definition hardly does justice to this fine wine! In any case, it is evident that the anti-oxidant capacity of Ramandolo is about twenty times higher than other white wines, such as Tocai, Sauvignon and Riesling. If we also consider that anti-oxidant capability is significantly affected by vinification techniques, one can imagine a future when oenologists will have to interact with experts in nutrition and bio-chemists to define production of an optimal wine. In such a scenario, wine will be increasingly viewed as an element for optimisation of nutrition, in keeping with the teachings of history, tradition and modern science.

The History

While the wine is present in the memory of poets and writers who sipped it at table with the nobility and quoted it in their works or memoirs of travel in Friuli.
I was still only a young oenologist from Friuli when, in the late 1940s--early 1950s, I had the pleasure on several occasions of getting to know this wine as it slowly recovered in the wake of war-time destruction. It was lawyer Antonio Comelli, the son of a wine-grower from Nimis, who communicated to me the enthusiasm of his family for this wine, loved and cared for in particular by his mother, who I remember with great affection.

D.O.C. legislation was still to be published, as well as the laws which now regulate the characteristics of grapes, wines and relative commercial production. Inasmuch, Ramandolo depended exclusively on the skill of producers and market demand.

Now, after years of intense and rewarding activity by the Ramandolo Consortium, the quality achieved by the product and its economic value are finally recognised, not the least thanks to dedicated work to modernise the hillside vineyards; equally, the considerable success achieved by the product on national and international markets has encouraged the desire to ensure even higher qualification of this pearl of Friuli wine-growing, requesting and obtaining – the first in our region – upgrading from Denomination of Controlled Origin to the more prestigious Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin certification.
Important studies at the University of Udine, conducted by Professors Zironi and Peterlungher, have shown that the Friuli Verduzzo-Ramandolo clone is a very ancient vine, cultivated many centuries before the arrival of the Romans in the area. The DNA of this vine, as well as other native Friuli varieties which will certainly be similarly valorised in the future, bears witness to the arrival of grape-bearing plants, travelling over the centuries, from the Middle East, through the temperate zone of the northern edge of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, Rumania, Hungary and through to our hilly areas of Friuli.
There is plentiful historical evidence, from the tuns and barrels used by Emperor Maximinus to cross the River Isonzo after his enemies had destroyed the bridge, to the name of a road, still today identifiable, leading from the sea to the mountains and thence further north, called Via Barilaria...
All this demonstrates, once again, that the wine-making vocation of Friuli, and in particular its hillside areas, has a tradition going back to the dawn of time, and confirms that the attainment of D.O.C.G. certification by Ramandolo is an important stage in an ancient course which continues – and will always continue – to ensure that our quality wines become progressively more and more famous all over the world.


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