The Wine: Ratatuja Bianco Frizzante 2018
Sparkling natural wine from Veneto, Northern Italy, Ratatuja is a blend of several grape varietals - Glera, Pinot Bianco, Verduzzo, Chardonnay, Tocai - hence resembling the famous French dish ratatouille (a mix of stewed vegetables). Add to it the fact that the winemaker's last name is Gatti, which means 'cats' in Italian - and perhaps a hint to the everlasting debate on mousiness in natural wine (my speculation) - and the uber tongue-in-cheek pun is complete. Ratatuja is also a 100% terroir name (it's in Veneto local dialect, trust me I'm from there and I speak the language :) ). Carolina Gatti's Ratatuja is intense golden in color due to a few days of skin contact.
The Winery: Carolina Gatti
(Temporary copy from "Vini di Vignaioli")
The winery has been in private property since 1800, my father Lorenzo is a wine-maker, I, Carolina, am an enologist and my brother Lino is an agronomist, my mother Renata sees to the courtyard animals, the garden and the many flower plants that she grows, particularly, the orchids.
We run the vineyard by ourselves, 5 hectares of spur-pruned grapes (the so-called Bellussi system); moreover we own a handkerchief-sized land lot where we grow corn for the courtyard animals and cattle. We have a small shed where we breed some animals on hay (of own production) and corn powder. We breed them for meat, but also and first of all, because we need the organic substance from manure for the vines.
In the vineyard, all pesticide treatments are made with the conventional Bordeaux mixture or copper salts and sulfur, we do not use herbicides, we treat the vines “on plant” to be able to aerate the soil and roots and to control the weeds.
In the wine-cellar, we chose to let the fermentation processes take their course, using indigenous yeast of the grape skin, processing the grapes in concrete containers to reduce heat exchange with the outer environment and, consequently, mitigate the risks of product damage. We apply frequent stirring technique for extraction of color and scents.
Our wines do not undergo any filtering or centrifugation; their settling and clarification occur through decanting and aeration. We do some gentle filtering using a sock filter at the moment of bottling to control possible impurities. The sulfite doses are minimal and are under rigorous control. Since 2007, we’ve been bottling only the lots we consider the best.
The Region: Veneto
Veneto is one of the most important wine regions of Italy, located in the North Eastern corner of the Italian peninsula. It borders with Trentino-Alto Adige (north), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (north-east), Emilia-Romagna (south), and Lombardy (west).
The capital of Veneto is Venice, which is also its most populous city, followed by Verona, Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, and Rovigo. The east coast of Lake Garda, the biggest Italian lake, is part of Veneto and so is the tract of Alpine foothills called Venetian Prealps.
Veneto is the leading Italian region for the quantity of wine produced – even though wine-producing regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Puglia, and Sicily all have bigger territories.
Some of its most famous wines are Amarone della Valpolicella, Valpolicella, Soave, and of course Prosecco. Other less known but equally delicious wines are Recioto della Valpolicella, Recioto di Gambellara, Raboso del Piave, and Bardolino.
Veneto’s main characteristic is perhaps the great variety of wine types produced, obtained mostly from indigenous grape varietals – Corvina, Glera, and Garganega being the most common.
This is due as much to its specific geography and climate as it is to rather peculiar winemaking techniques such as the grape drying technique employed to make Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto’s most famous red wine.