Yes, there’s a certain wow-factor about this obscure variety even sommeliers rarely admit having had tasted.
The national registry code is 313 and the color is red. It’s a purely Piedmontese experience to taste the wines made from Ruchè grapes, the experience you won’t likely soon to forget.
Yes, there’s a certain wow-factor about this obscure variety even sommeliers rarely admit having had tasted. With Ruchè it gets quite interesting: it’s Piedmont, of course, but so different from the established luxurious image of Nebbiolo. The taste? It gets really wild, sometimes rustic, expressive and abundant with aromas, almost still fermenting in your glass. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak, well-made Ruchè is capable of showing how little we know even about such a famous wine region as Piedmont.
With the vineyards located around Castagnole Monferrato, the grape requires well-sunlit slopes, gently rolling here and there: there are not so many vineyards and producers in the young appellation.
Normally quite high alcohol levels of Ruchè (15% is something not out of the ordinary) combine with intense aromas that remind of no other wines you tasted before. So it’s in experienced hands where the grape starts shining brightly: in fact, some producers have been nourishing these vines since the 80-s. This discovery is fascinating, adding to other hidden jewels of Piedmont like Pelaverga and Grignolino. In fact, Ruchè had been used to add visual depth to lighter-colored wines of Piedmont.
Ruchè’s wild nature has to be controlled. Barrel-ageing is an option, but only works well when applied gently: killing intense grape aromatics is also quite easy. It’s in the unoaked versions where Ruchè shows its real character.
Not to say you have to cellar the wines, though: most of them are made without such a purpose in mind, they are made for immediate pleasure delivery, celebration of life and friendly parties. Herbal and floral aromas intertwine with rich bell-pepper greener notes, giving the wines adorable drinkability and rustic charm, in some cases, with dusty minerality depicting the individual character of Ruchè DOCG terroirs and winemaking.