“Se a Castagnole Monferrato qualcuno vi offre Ruchè è perché ha piacere di voi…”
If you haven’t heard about this grape variety, there are reasons for that — it has just recently appeared on the wine scene. There are also reasons to find out more — because Ruchè is slowly gaining international attention and considering it’s a natural habitat of Asti province in Piedmont and a comparatively recent official history of the appellation, the results are even more interesting.
Ruchè grape variety’s home lies near the town of Castagnole Monferrato, a dozen kilometers away from the famous town of Asti. Castagnole is not a meaningless name — in fact, it’s pointing the traveler’s attention to chestnut trees growing here and there between the vineyards. Led by the firm believer in the variety and the Association of Ruchè Winery, the appellation is becoming more visible on the international market.
A little detour from the famous areas of Piedmont will do us good: like Barbera, Ruchè is capable of producing very pleasant wines, even if its heritage is not that strong and the history is far less known. There is no general agreement and not much research on where the variety is coming from, but what is for sure is that it suits these lands very well.
It’s important to note that the area is extremely young: most people were leaving these territories to work in bigger cities and towns and only recently started to come back to the area and, in fact, sometimes starting from scratch, sometimes overtaking vineyards from parents. Since 2010 when Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato achieved the DOCG status, more vines have been planted and the process goes on.
Today’s overall area of Ruchè production has reached 136 ha, which
slowly increases over time. Minty, spicy, peppery,
mostly not harsh on the mouth, aged in wood by virtually all the Ruchè producers, the wines are an excellent addition to our array of wines-to-
go with food. While Ruchè producers are still experimenting with different vilification and ageing techniques, it’s interesting to watch the youngest of them achieving fantastic result with this grape variety, producing balanced and fairly complex wines that are easy to drink at any circumstances.
Needless to say, this character fits local cuisine extremely well, especially if we recall those slow-cooked beefs, braised lamb, mushroom risottos and cheeses.