After two consecutive years of extremely hot and dry conditions, the 2009 season came to replenish the water shortage. Atmospheric humidity during the growing season was the highest observed over the last thirty years and summer temperatures did not rise sufficiently to check the outbreak of downy mildew. Nonetheless, disease did not reduce crop load, as timely disease control ensured proper vine health. On the contrary, water excess raised crop loads relative to the last two years. Xinomavro was picked mid-October. For the most part, the very slow and late ripening allowed continuous berry enlargement with subsequently lower maturity and acidity levels, yet satisfactory phenolic profile. The new blocks planted solely with the preferred Xinomavro clones demonstrated once again their superiority. Meticulous selection process proved to be even more useful during this difficult year. Sorting out grapes not bunch by bunch, but berry by berry, we managed to retain our highest quality standard constant, albeit at an extra cost. So despite the challenges of the year we expect wines with intense and fine aromas, medium color intensities, full-body, and a surprisingly charming harmony. Rating: ****
The vineyards used for Ramnista have an overall southeast exposure at an altitude of 280-330 m. Rainfall is abundant during the winter months, but summers are so dry that regulated drip irrigation is applied to prevent water stress. Vine density ranges from 3,500 to 4,000 per hectare and the average crop yield is maintained below 2.5 kg per vine. For "Ramnista" we use grapes mostly from the vineyard blocks in the lower pH range and with lighter soil types to maximize the aromatic intensity and complexity.
The grapes are handpicked and sorted on a conveyor belt before crush. After a six–day pre-fermentation cold soak at 8-10° C, the must undergoes a 12-15 day fermentation at controlled temperatures of no more than 25°C. Roughly one third of the wine ferments in open-top tanks with pigeage. The final blend is made five months after harvest and the last racking takes place about six months later. Both French and American barrels are used, 25% of which is new oak, and about 25% 500-lt casks. The wine is filtered very lightly.