Tag Archives: Ruché

Vinchio Vaglio: the Nest of Barbera

The story of the Vinchio and Vaglio winery is a love story where the inhabitants of these two villages transformed a difficult and poor, inarable land with slopes so steep that some local sayings proved true: “S’ot dròca la colassion, it la treuvi pì!” (if you drop your breakfast, you won’t find it again!) or “S’ot dròca ël bertin, ot toca curije drera fin ant la val” (if your hat blows off in the wind, you’ll need to run down to the end of the valley to get it”). The name results from both Vinchio and Vaglio Serra villages where 19 vine growers used to live and founded the cooperative in 1959. The winery is located in Piedmont, Monferrato, core zone of UNESCO World Heritage Patrimony, right at the foot of the Alps. This area with its steep slopes and overhanging vineyards at the edge of the woods has been tended and “tamed” to dramatic effort, where every single drop of the “Ruby of Vinchio” (Barbera wine) equates to thousands of drops (and certainly not an exaggeration!) of farmers’ sweat. However, the vineyards have never failed to reward their hard work. These vine rows, in fact, repay the industrious farmers with grapes of rare and exceptional quality. Nowadays the cooperative represents 192 family vine growers who take daily care of 450 hectares mostly planted in Barbera grapes (60% of our production) and all other indigenous grapes from Piedmont such as Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Ruché, Albarossa, Grignolino, Arneis, Cortese, Moscato and Brachetto. The territory is characterized by a distinctive terroir of calcareous soils and sandy soils in Vinchio and mostly clay soils in Vaglio Serra what makes the Barbera of Vinchio Vaglio unique for the structure (white soils), elegance (sandy soils) and aromas (clay soils). The sun usually shines all day on these hills, there is seldom hoarfrost or fog and no shadow. Great wines grow on these hills.


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.

Montalbera 010



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