Much of the wine world can thank the French. After all, it’s how we got the bottle sizes we have today, much of the grapes, styles and the overall general wine vibe can be traced back to France. But while the French raised wine onto pedestal levels not seen before, it’s the Italians that really make wine approachable and inviting. They created their own bottle, affectionately called a squat bottle and wrapped it in straw. Yes the French have done a lot, but the Italians have also earned their place in wine history. And with that, welcome to Ramazzotti Wines in Geyserville.
At Ramazotti, you’ll find a combination of both American and Italian varietals, starting immediately in the white wine category. You have a choice of Sparkling, Chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio. Granted the poor Pinot Grigio has had a bad rap over the past few years. It seems to be the preferred choice for ultra-budget friendly jug wines. Whatever your vision of a Pinot Grigio is, check it at the door. This one is crisp, clean and begging for mussels steamed in garlic, served up with a side of garlic bread. The Pinot Grigio is a close tasting cousin to the Sauvignon Blanc. It’s bright and acidic and just doing what an Italian wine should do, pair perfectly with Italian food.
Moving onto the reds, you’re presented with a few more Italian varietals. Often Italian varietals are lighter in nature compared with other grapes. Which is why the Barbera and the Sangiovese come right at the beginning. Awesome. But the gondola ride through the canal strolls along with the Super Tuscan; a wine composing of both Italian grapes and Bordeaux ones. In this blend, you’ll find Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and some Cabernet Franc (yes, technically the Syrah is Rhone over Bordeaux, but hey, it happens). Winemaker and owner Joe Ramazotti describes the 2011 blend perfectly, “[A] party on the palate.”
Once you get through the Italian tasting tour, you’re back to classic American styles—Zinfandel, Zinfandel and a Zinfandel, with one of them hailing from the Sierra Foothills You’ll also find some blends, depending upon the year.
At the end you’ll find a coveted late-harvest Zinfandel dessert wine. It’s perfectly paired with dark chocolate. A wonderful finish to such a diverse tasting.
Speaking of tasting, the fee to taste here is a modest $10, with the fee being waived if you purchase a bottle. The tasting room is located right next to Mercury. It’s at first a strange sight to enter Mercury’s tasting room in order to get to Ramazotti. But don’t worry. Mercury won’t hold it against you (much) if you go into their room and immediately hang a left and hit Ramazzotti. They know you have to come back the same way.
I love tasting here as you get two completely separate wine tasting experiences through one door. Cozy, friendly and inviting. It’s Italian hospitality and Italian varietals (minus the large family-style plate of spaghetti). That’s Ramazzotti Wines.