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Fregola Sarda Con Gamberi + a Vertical Tasting of the 2017 and 2019 Attems Ramato Pinot Grigio #ItalianFWT

This week Rupal of Syrah Queen was supposed to host the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers as we look at Ramato wines. But she had an opportunity to participate in a wine media trip and I stepped into help this month. You can read my invitation here

If you are reading this early enough, feel free to join in our Twitter chat on Saturday, July 3rd at 8am Pacific time. Just follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it.

While Ramato wines are the focus, I opened up the theme to include any Pinot Grigio, an Italian dish with origins in the northeastern province of Friuli Venezia Giulia, or travel memories from that area, too. I also said I'd take articles on wines made in the Ramato style from anywhere in the world. Here's the group's line-up...

A Vertical Tasting of the 2017 and 2019 
Attems Ramato Pinot Grigio

Some people classify ramato wines as different from Rosé and so-called 'orange' wines, but I find the process almost identical: these wines have an extended maceration of the must and the skins during the winemaking process. In Italian, ramato generally refers to a hair color, meaning 'auburn' or 'burnished.' Some call it 'copper'. But the second I poured it, I realized why the word also referred to this wine. I poured both a 2017 and a 2019 from the same winery. Don't ask me why I didn't get a 2018...I have no idea!

In the Glass

These bottles, from the Attems family, come from the northeastern part of the country that's bordered by the Alps to the north and the Adriatic to the south. The Attems family can trace their winemaking history back nearly a thousand years when the Bishop of Salisbury gifted them the estate to culivate vines and make wine. Nine centuries later, they aligned with Marchesi de' Frescobaldi and continue to collaborate on innovative vineyard management and ways to participate in the global wine market.

For the 2017, the wine’s aromas are intriguing with notes of vanilla, melon, and brioche. On the tongue, it's beautifully balanced with a playful acidity and hearty minerality. 

The 2019 had the same characteristic color with a bouquet that was more intense than the 2017. I noted more red fruit and more citrus than the older Ramato. And this one had much more of a savory finish with some interesting white pepper flavors.

While both were delightful, I preferred the 2019. I can't wait to get my hands on another bottle and pour it again. But for now, it was the perfect match for a shrimp and pasta dish. Cin cin.

On the Plate

On the day I wanted to pour these wines, I had just picked up two bags of fregola sarda from one of my favorite local Italian restaurants. During this COVID crisis, I'm grateful to see local restaurants adapting their model (from restaurant service to pantry sales, for example) to feed the community and maintain some income for the owners. I'm always happy to support that kind of innovation...and get some high quality Italian items that I usually can't find. Fregola sarda is one of those items.

Sometimes called Sardinian couscous, fregola falls between a grain and a pasta; it has a distinctive nuttiness and irregular texture that is all its own. I love it! You just use it the way you'd use couscous or orzo.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (heads and shells reserved for making stock later)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh herbs (I had dill)
  • zest from 1 organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package fregola sarda, cooked according to package directions, drained
  • preserved lemon, chopped (optional)
  • ricotta salata, crumbled (optional)


In a large skillet, melt butter in olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, approximately 2 minutes per side. Toss in the fresh herbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add in the cooked fregola sarda and toss to coat. Add in more olive oil to make it shine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with chopped preserved lemon and crumbled ricotta salata, if using. We love the pop of flavor that both of those ingredients add. Serve immediately.

Well, that's a wrap for the July #ItalianFWT Ramato event. We'll be back next month Jeff of Food Wine Click! leading the discussion of the wines of Lombardy. Stay tuned.


  1. I have never heard of fregola sarda before. I am going to have to be on the lookout for it.

    1. Oooo! I love it. I can pick up a package and put it in with your books!

  2. I don’t believe I’ve ever had or heard of fregola sarda. I’m intrigued! Thanks for jumping in on this one.

  3. Very nice wine (I've had it before) and pairing! I love dill with seafood. Thanks for hosting this event!

  4. Your discussion of classifying ramato... I went down a rabbit hole researching the technique. I agree with you about the almost identical process. It's that 'almost' that comes into play. Bottom line, they're very similar! I hope that additional bottle you get is 2018 and you'll tell us about it.

    I see your dish contains preserved lemon. After the few tweets about grilling lemons, I'd like to make your dish and grill the shrimp and lemon.

  5. I've always heard that the Attems Family makes a good ramato! Hopefully you can get your hands on that 2018 and post the vertical!

  6. I'd been eyeing the Attems wines on -- I might just need to order a bottle! The fregola sarda with shrimp also sounds right up my alley. YUM


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