You think you know pinot grigio? You think it’s a quaffable-yet-forgettable grape? Ye of little faith and imagination. Winemaker Christopher Tracy of Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton would beg to differ with that assessment, and he has delicious evidence: his 2021 Ramato, a pinot grigio-based white that looks more like… an orange.
Or a sunset. It’s just not your typical white wine. Something you may not know about pinot grigio: yes, it is a white grape variety but its skins—which is where the color from any wine comes from—are actually more of a grayish rosy-purple-ish hue. Tracy, a pioneer on Long Island for his adapting grapes from places like northern Italy and Austria to our maritime, cool climate here on Long Island, was inspired by the old Friulian way of working with the grape, allowing it to ferment on its skins instead of stripping them away.
It’s not just about color (although it is so very eye-catching); Tracy’s Ramato (the word translates to mean “coppery” from Italian) comes alive in your mouth, too. The skins of grapes, where tannins live, can play an exciting role in creating texture, too. Ramato is a little grippy on your tongue; instead of absently letting it slide down your throat, you might find yourself rolling this juice around on your tongue a little longer, so commanding is its texture. You’re not quite ready to release it straight away.
And then there’s the way it smells, all apricot flesh and pit, candied Meyer lemons, a little raw almond, and something reminiscent of springtime Lilly of the Valley (maybe because there’s a tiny 2 percent of the aromatic grape, muscat ottonel in there, but who knows).
It only clocks in at 12 percent alcohol, making it a nimble choice with which to start and finish an evening. It’s especially nice with nuts and well-aged Gouda, but saffron-spiked risotto with grilled shrimp would be a show-stopper. Grab a bottle at Channing Daughters Winery (1927 Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton, 631-537-7224) or Amagansett Wines & Spirits (203 Main St., 631-267-3939).