Described as “a wine of character,” the Ruché of winemaker Montalbera of Castagnole Monferrato (AT) is one of the pleasantest surprises encountered in “Gusto in Scena”, the food and wine festival held last March 17 to 19 at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice.

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Produced in a territory that includes seven municipalities of Monferrato, Piemont territory famous for the quality of its wines, the Ruché – DOC and DOCG  is a wine of exceptional softness, with a particular aroma of rose and violet and a fruity taste reminiscent of the flavor of apricot. All unusual features in a red Piedmont, which led him to be loved especially by women.

The origin is obscure, the best hypothesis is that it comes from old vines by the Alta Savoia while the name thought come from “San Rocco”. A community of monks devoted to this saint, in fact, would probably have introduced the cultivation in the area. But the link with the religious of this variety does not stop there: forgotten for a number of years and at risk of extinction, has been rediscovered in the ’70s by the pastor of Castagnole Monferrato, Don Giacomo Cauda, ​​which he found ten rows between the properties of the parish and decided to enhance it. “She has a perfect body – as he described it – and a balance of aromas, flavors and scents. Tasted with moderation frees the spirit and opens the mind …”

The Ruché is a red grape, with medium-small leaf, three-lobed (rarely lobed), pale green and hairless. The



cluster has cylindrical shape – pyramidal, elongated and compact. The ripening period coincides with the end of September – beginning of October, greatly anticipating the ripening compared with other varieties typical of the area. Despite remarkable characteristics of adaptability, it prefers calcareous and argillaceous land, giving a bouquet of particular intensity and characterization.

The designation of origin includes the towns of Castagnole Monferrato, Grana, Montemagno,

Portacomaro Refrancore, Scurzolengo and Viarigi, all in the province of Asti. The regulations impose a 90% Ruché grapes, while the remaining 10% may also include Brachetto or Barbera grapes.

There are three interpretations of Ruché: La TradizioneLaccento e Limpronta each with specific characteristics, result of a long trial. Just one of them, Laccento was recently winner of the Prize for the Best Italian Red Wine  at eighth edition of the event SensofWine, held in Rome last January 2013.

Massimo Paccagnella