15 years ago, Olivier Ramé's life looked very different. Together with his wife Stéphanie he lived in an apartment in Paris. He was a financial advisor, she was a marketing manager. Of course, the two liked to drink wine, especially as Stéphanie comes from a family of winemakers. But Olivier would never have thought that he would become a winemaker himself. After all, his career as an expert in corporate mergers was going very well – why think about a new start? But then the moments where Olivier had enough of the big city and the financial world piled up. When his father-in-law announced one day that he would sell his winery, a jolt went through the young Frenchman. He decided to take a completely new path. He quit his job and trained as a winemaker. However, it soon became clear that as a wine maker he did not want to follow the beaten path. So he travelled around the world for two years and visited 200 wine regions. «I wanted to gain as many experiences as possible around the topic of wine, see how it is done elsewhere and find my own style», explains the ambitious beginner. The first years as a winemaker were challenging, because the winery had been run very conventionally until then and had not bottled its wines itself but sold them to middle-men. A lot of work and a complete rethink were needed to make Maison Ventenac the innovative organic wine estate it is today. But in his free time Olivier also proves that he has no problem with taking the path less travelled. With his Gravel Bike he explores the southern French landscape as he pleases. Never getting lost but always taking the challenging route!
Radical and on the move
«Wines are like works of art. They are unique because the personality of the person who produces the product flows into them. That is precisely why we are making this magazine. We want to tell you the stories that are present in a wine. Today, let yourself be inspired by the most diverse wine personalities! Freedom-loving individualist, clever fox or peace personified – who will you invite to your table? We hope you enjoy reading this.»
Olivier Ramé wants to change your views on wine
«It's about getting the wine off the pedestal», Olivier Ramé says with a rebellious undertone, «we should bring it back to where it really belongs - into our throats.» In the end, it is not important what is on the label. The taste buds are only interested in the good taste of the wine. «Appellation? Château? I don't care! A rather radical view. Especially for a Frenchman and even more for a winegrower, who tend to be pretty traditional in their views. He became a «dissident» during his two-year journey through the wine regions of the world: «I make wines that I like, not wines that others expect from me.» For example, he produces pure wines such as «La Muse», which contradicts the rules of the AOP Cabardès. When he came to the south of France and asked a lot of questions, he was soon considered «un peu fou», a bit crazy. Olivier is simply a person who dares to go his own way. Even where most people see only a dead end. In 2013, the winemaker lost his left hand ring finger while working with a machine. Nevertheless, a few years later he started taking guitar lessons. And see: It's also possible with one finger less! You just have to want it. Olivier is convinced that every human being has a «dissident side». We find them where we are fully committed to «our own thing», where we do not compromise. The «dissident side» is the breeding ground for growing beyond oneself. Olivier Ramé is doing it. With his extraordinary life story and with his radically good wines.
Robert Parker: 91/100 points
«In peace lies the strength»
Five questions to wine grower Claudia Quevedo
How did you come to wine?
I grew into the world of wine because I was surrounded by vines and wines all my life. My brother and I are the 5th generation of a family of winegrowers from the Douro region. So it was very easy to follow my calling. I studied oenology to continue the history of our wine-making family.
If Claudia’s red were a piece of music, what would it be?
«For Elise» by Ludwig van Beethoven. This has been my favourite song in classical music since my childhood – and today my 14-year-old daughter Beatriz plays it perfectly on the piano.
What gives you energy?
The indescribable and wonderful landscape of the Douro. As Miguel Torga, a poet from the region, once said: «The Douro is a debauchery of nature, a geological poem.
At what moment is Claudia's red the perfect wine?
If you have a lot of time and want to enjoy a good glass of wine with some nice people. This wine wants to be drunk in peace and without haste, so that one can get into it properly. So that in the end everyone is happy, satisfied and fulfilled.
How do your friends describe you?
As a happy person who is super positive. In addition, I am strongly connected with the family and the family history. But above all: Authentic and true to my nature.
Robert Parker: 91/100 points
«Multilayered and informal like a good conversation»
La Pica stands out with quality and accessibility
Good ideas often come over a glass of wine. Why? Is it because wine makes us euphoric? Possible. That it loosens your tongue? Maybe. We believe that the magic lies first and foremost in the fact that drinking wine together creates a relaxed atmosphere in which one can talk attentively to another person. In addition, a special connection is created when one shares a bottle of wine. This is the best way to create an adventure together or to develop a vision. If you want to have a deep conversation, we like to grab a Pica. The wines are multi-layered and high-quality, but also informal. Just like a good conversation. In addition, the knight Don Quijote on the label embodies values such as courage, willpower and passion. Just what it takes to bring ideas and dreams to life. Let's toast all the companies, trips, clubs or adventures that have been created with a glass of wine together!
«Curious and clever like a fox»
The success story of Francesco Ricasoli
Barone Ricasoli is the oldest winery in Italy. Chianti was invented here, and a prime minister even built the brand. Today Francesco Ricasoli, who is the 32nd Baron of Brolio, runs the traditional winery. In terms of inventiveness and far-sightedness, he is not inferior to his illustrious ancestors. In 1993 Francesco retook the estate of his ancestors. Before that, it spent twenty years in the hands of a multinational corporation and suffered considerable damage to its image. Francesco has managed to bring the winery back to the top of Italy's wine producers within 30 years. His genius was the exact analysis and measurement of the soil. This terroir-focused approach is new for Tuscany. However, the outstanding quality of his wines proves that Francesco Ricasoli made the right decision. But the Baron did not rest on his laurels. His unquenchable curiosity prompted him to expand his territory and expand into the Bolgheri region. He was fascinated by this completely different terroir on the Tuscan coast. Since the clever fox leaves nothing to chance, he brought Carlo Ferrini into the boat. The Italian is one of the best oenologists in the world. The first vintage of the «Astuto» was celebrated by the wine critics. Since then, foxes are increasingly seen wandering through elegant dinners – preferably with red meat or game.
«Unplugging in nature»
The relaxed wine for golden autumn days
«Wine is music for me!», stresses Austrian winegrower Hannes Reeh – and because his wines do not require beauty and frippery, the rock music fan found the term «unplugged» perfect for his wine. And how does the acoustic version of the Zweigelt taste? «It's like playing guitar at the campfire. Just pure and real. Yes, Hannes Reeh certainly demonstrates a lot of tact for nature, his wine comes across as pleasantly relaxed. This is why this wine is the ideal wine for us at the beginning of autumn: perfect for the warm, golden days. The tranquility, gentleness and colourful splendour of nature invites us to linger and «unplug». Simply pull the plug and enjoy it. Speaking of autumn pleasure: This full-bodied, powerful Zweigelt is a fabulous match for game. Where hind and stag wish eachother good night, it's definitely a good place to live!