This wine was born out of an unfortunate circumstance. It was the third time using our press and we were not paying enough attention, which resulted in us breaking the press halfway through pressing our Merlot to make rosé. After lots of bad words and half a night’s sleep, we decided to pivot and blend the remaining Merlot with Crimson Cabernet. We had already wanted to make an early release red (aka Beaujolais Nouveau style), just wasn't sure how we'd make it happen with the grapes we were harvesting. After debating the qualities these two grapes would bring to each other, we decided it would make a fruity wine with lively acidity and light tannins, perfect for the style we wanted, without the typical aging required for a red wine.
We hope you enjoy Colorado Nuovo (new in Italian) as the compliment to any occasion and paired with a wide range of food, friends and family!
I remember clearly driving around New York after my great grandmother’s funeral listening to my grandma, my mom and her sister talking about how things had changed in the last few years. How the Chinese mafia had moved in and that they didn’t have the same ethics the Italian mafia did. “Wait. What?” I interrupted from the back seat, “so all those stories you told about Grandma and Grandpa Ramondi were true?”
There are times you are told stories of previous generations that seem too crazy to be true, and times those stories are crazier than you thought possible. I quickly realized this was one of the later as my grandma began retelling all the stories I had heard when I was younger, and they turned out to be bigger than I remembered… which all solidified my nickname “Mafia Princess.”
Part of taking over someone else's production set up and equipment is that there is a learning curve for each piece of equipment. With that learning curve, comes mistakes. Our Moscato was the first large batch of grapes we picked, and it wasn't even that big, but we had everything set up in a way that logically would work. Instead we aerated the juice way more than I was comfortable with, we pressed and didn't know to line the press with a screen, so the juice was really dirty. We finished up and looking at the juice in the tank all I could think was I had screwed up big time! The juice was brown from oxidation, dirty from the press and smelled terrible. I added bentonite to help with clarification, tannin to help with the oxidation and crossed my fingers. Racked the next day to try and clean up the juice, added more bentonite and more tannin, and racked again. The juice was a little cleaner, but smelled even worse! Instead of smelling green apple, hay or honeysuckle which are all things you would expect to smell in Moscato, it smelled like stinky feet and nail polish remover. I added yeast, knowing that everything that was going on would likely get cleaned up through fermentation.
I still remember the first time I opened the tank and it actually smelled pleasant, I had a huge since of relief. Then after fermentation and racking again, it finally smelled like apples and honeysuckle, just like Moscato should. Now, in bottle, it still has those some aromatics, a hint of sweetness and is perfectly clear.
Growing up in New York shortly after the turn of the century must have been quite the experience. So many different cultures, peoples and groups. Just like today there were times being a pretty young lady had it's advantages and times it didn't. Such as when you catch the eye of the wrong man. Nowadays it usually isn't a big deal when the wrong guy is interested in you, you just quit responding to his phone calls and texts and he gets the idea. For my great grandmother Rose, it was far from simple. She had attracted the attention of a Mafia Don, definitely the wrong kind of attention! Her family ended up hiding her out in the mountains of New York for almost a year, giving the Mafia Don ample time to find some other lady who was more inclined to join the family.
Our rosé is the other half of the press disaster that created our Colorado Nuovo. The Merlot is estate grown and these vines have had a rough couple of years. All the Merlot was froze back in the early fall freeze in 2020. Like most traditional grape vine varietals, the Merlot had to be completely regrown and retrained from the ground. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and money to do so, neither of which was available at the time for the previous vineyard owner. By the time we bought the property the Merlot had grown back nicely, into bushes. We debated retraining, but the fruit buds were already present and we would end up losing a lot by retraining late in the season. So we just let the vines do their thing. While picking wasn't easy since we had to dig through the bushes to find all the fruit and the fruit didn't ripen very evenly. Yet the fruit was delicious and the wine turned out excellent!
My great grandparents got married in the early 1900's and their marriage started off a bit differently then most marriages today. One day Rose Jannoti got all dolled up and Joseph Ramondii got a chance to look at her and decide if he wanted to marry her. He most have liked what he say, because the two were married shortly after. So this pseudo arranged marriage might seem strange to us, despite this they stayed married for over 70 years, had five children and while things weren't always easy, I always remember them laughing and smiling together.
While I think it's an amazing story, I am glad our family traditions have changed over the last century or so. Though it still seems crazy that this was how families started not that long ago.
Mafia Princess Wines
221 31 3/10 Road, Grand Junction, Colorado 81503, United States
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