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RAM Cellars

RAM Cellars 2021 Counoise

Science & art, together in the winery

Growing up in rural Eastern Washington, Vivianne Kennedy thought she’d wind up a scientist of some sort, probably a fisheries biologist. Then there was that undergraduate degree in information systems. But all along, another future beckoned.

That future was sparked in her 20s when she happened upon a barrel tasting event at a winery. The winemaker took the time to help lead Vivianne through the tasting and they had a long conversation about the impact of different oak treatments on Cabernet Franc. She realized wine was a way to combined her passion for art with her scientific bent.

Soon, Vivianne was the assistant winemaker at Portland’s ENSO Winery — and before long, she’d launched RAM Cellars. Those initials? An homage to her grandfather, whose legacy of care, kindness, and support she hopes to emulate.

In 2018, four years after launching RAM, she made the decision to come out as a transgender woman. It wasn’t easy. She lost friends, vineyard contracts, and wine club members. But “viv” is the French root word for “alive”, and for Vivianne, it was the decision that saved her life. Today, Vivianne is living up to her grandfather’s legacy by donating significant portions of RAM’s revenues to support the trans community.

RAM Cellars

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

RAM Cellars, Portland, Oregon
2021 Counoise

I’m so excited to share this Counoise with you — the first one ever at Cellar 503!

In the legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape region in southeastern France, Counoise is one of the 13 grapes allowed in the famed blends of the region. But even there, Counoise is only about 0.5% of the total vineyard production.

Counoise has strong spice and pepper notes, alongside fruit and berry flavors. As a blending grape, it brings balance to the dark fruit and big tannins of Syrah and Grenache. By itself, it’s a lovely, light-bodied wine that is often best enjoyed young.

This 2021 edition from RAM Cellars is a dazzling ruby red color with aromas of raspberry jam, cranberry sauce, cloves, and cardamom. On the palate you’ll taste cranberry, rhubarb, chai spices and rose petals. The acidity and spice will be fabulous with grilled lamb, duck, roasted veggies, and goats milk cheeses.

Just 47 cases produced – and 24 of those are reserved for Cellar 503!

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2022, Unusual Varietals Columbia Valley | Counoise