Monday, October 1, 2007

Ruchè: Late Entry for WBW 37

I didn't start this blog in time to "go native" for Wine Blogging Wednesday #37. If I had, I could have told you about a fantastic wine made from an Italian grape called Ruchè.

I seek out indigenous varietals of all stripes. The winemaker that spurns more marketable varietals to grow a Romorantin in Cour-Cheverny, or a Godello in Valdeorras, or a Ruchè in the Piedmont, is apt to be doing this out of passion, an important ingredient of quality. Second, the flavors are apt to be both unique and specific, to have something to say. I want to hear that voice, spoken in its native tongue.

The Luca Ferraris Bric d'Bianc Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato 2006 I had back in April is a wine with something to say.

But wait, it this really an indigenous wine? According to Gleave (by way of the Oxford Companion to Wine), the locals believe that Ruchè originated in Burgundy. Is only out of ignorance that we could believe it to be indigenous? Depends on what the meaning of is is, I suppose.

Whatever the case, this is a spicy and beautifully aromatic medium-bodied wine. The first draught shoves crushed blackberries, baking spices and a hint of bramble up the nose, while Bing cherry and dried herbs show up in the long, velvety, filling mouth. It's equally velvety on day two, but the blackberry aromas stitch into something deeper, subtler, more savory, but equally intoxicating. The tannins and fresh acidity are modest, substantive, and balanced; it's an excellent food wine.

Luca Ferraris aged this wine for 9 months in large, 25 hl oak casks.

I bought this on Cellar Rat's opening day, and the proprietor told me that in 15 years of buying wine, he had only sold three Ruchès. Well, I sure as hell had never heard of the grape or the Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOC, but after tasting this, I hope to hear still more of it soon.

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