Little known and considered one of Piedmont’s "little D.O.C.G’s.", Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato is produced with the grapes of the same name.
The origins of this particular vine are as uncertain as its name. D.O.C. (Controlled designation of Origin) status was achieved only in 1987 and D.O.C.G. status, for the towns of Castagnole Monferrato, Grana, Montemagno, Refrancore, Scurzolengo and Viarigi, in 2010.
These are all neighbouring towns in the Province of Asti, a relatively small area as far as D.O.C.G is concerned. Completely amended in 2010 to meet D.O.C.G. standards, the code of production states that Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato D.O.C.G. must be produced with at least 90% of Ruchè grapes, while the remaining 10% may be Barbera or Brachetto grapes. This winery has chosen to produce the wine with 100% Ruchè grapes, thus preserving intact the particular characteristics and magnificent qualities of this natural fruit of the land. The alcohol content must not be lower than 12%, and ageing is not obligatory. When in the glass, its ruby-red colour with violet highlights catches the eye immediately; tasting proves winy and pleasantly aromatic in bouquet, with an almost “oriental” note reminiscent of incense. Dry and definitely sweet on the palate, it is of medium structure and balanced tannicity.
The lack of written records of its origin, together with vague oral testimony, have encouraged the aura of mystery that surrounds the wine, heightening its appeal. As to the origin of the name, numerous theories have sprouted: one is that it comes from San Rocco, since the story tells that a community of monks devoted to this saint introduced its cultivation in the region; on the other hand, there are those who attribute its name to "roncet", an infectious degeneration of grapevines which attacked local vineyards in the past against which Ruché proved particularly resistant. The last theory is based on the contention that the name derives from the Piedmontese term "roche", referring to grapes grown in tucked-away, hilly areas of the Monferrato. From recent studies and from the attentive analysis of the variety and its characteristics, it appears that Ruché owes its origins to the ancient varieties of Haute Savoie (the most credited theory). In the old days, for the people of Castagnole Monferrato, Ruché was the wine of festive occasions as opposed to those that were consumed daily. Over time it has acquired a legendary "aura", becoming - in the collective imagination - the wine which accompanied the militias of Asti on the crusades and which helped the Lombards win over the Franks in the Refrancore area. The appeal and the mystique of this wine are real, its origins unknown to most, its highly particular and unique taste distinguish it clearly from all other Piedmontese wines and make it a veritable pearl of the wine growing in the region. The qualities of this most noble wine are certainly such that we may soon see it rank among the greatest Italian wines (Veronelli). The quantities produced by each single wine estate are small. It generally matures from mid-September, depending on climatic conditions, and there is a tendency to delay the harvest in order to enhance the alcohol content and the good balance of acidity. The wines obtained are thus more suited to hearty meat and game or spicy dishes and medium-aged cheeses.
ZD.O.C.G. production area
Castagnole Monferrato, Grana, Montemagno, Portacomaro, Refrancone, Scurzolengo, Viarigi.
Absolute clarity with good brightness. Ruby-red in colour with marked shades of crimson; when young it has violet highlights which transform into bright orange shades over time. When swirled, it can easily create abundant and lasting arches which descend slowly.
Fine, persistent, intense, complex, slightly aromatic, distinctive. It is difficult to fully explore the exciting aromas which fill the nostrils to the point of intoxication. It is aromatically pleasing with its fusion of the fragrance of perfectly-ripe cherry and apricot. In a cocktail of scents, pleasant nuances reach the nose: hazelnut, fruit in syrup, peach, banana, dried fruit, blackberries and raspberries, with the scent of blooming geranium especially noticeable.
Soft and velvety, with good intensity and pleasantly long-lasting taste, justly warm and harmonious. Its relatively low acidity and alcohol level, together with a balanced body, make Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato easy and pleasantly soft to the palate.
Its dominant feature – which lasts as the wine ages – is a nuance of aromas combining the velvety sensation of ripe apricots, the slightly withered cherry and the rosa canina (or dog-rose).
The Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato is among the latest Piedmontese D.O.C.G.’s. It can definitely be considered a niche wine.
16 – 18 degrees.