A lovely bouquet explodes with scents of rose petal, cherry and lemon. On first impression, this lively red seems lighter than it really is: its flavors of cherries and juniper are subdued rather than powerful. But the palate quickly builds, leading to a surprisingly full and rich midpalate. Yet its fruit and spice flavors, tinged with citrusy bergamot notes, are still soft and velvety.
Red cherry, plum, rose petal, cinnamon and clove.
Only a few hundred acres of vines are planted to Ruché, a rare Italian grape variety that yields mediumbodied, beautifully perfumed reds with flavors of berry and spice. Production is centered around seven villages in Piedmont, the hilly region in northwest Italy. In 1987, Ruché from the village of Castagnole Monferrato, traditionally the source of the best Ruchés, was granted D.O.C. (for "controlled place of origin") status, one of the highest designations in Italy's wine classifications. Because the D.O.C. encompasses only about 100 acres of vineyards, these wines are some of the scarcest D.O.C. wines in Italy. This bottling comes from Luca Ferraris, a dynamic young vintner who is devoted to reviving Ruché and is making some of the district's most exciting wines. The Bric d'Bianc Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato is his flagship cuvée, named for the vineyard from which it is sourced--a steep site just outside of Castagnole Monferrato that he purchased and planted to vines in 2000. Ferraris vinifies his wines within the town's castle walls in an ancient vault that his great-grandfather purchased. Specially designed steel tanks help ferment the grapes at precise temperatures, a key to extracting ideal flavors.
Poultry, pork and pasta dishes will complement the medium tannins, low acidity and herbaceous notes of the Ferraris Ruché. But steer clear of preparations incorporating tomatoes, whose acidity will make this red taste bitter. For complementary ingredients, try fresh herbs, especially ones with piney flavors, such as rosemary, juniper and bay leaves. Olives, aged hard cheeses, dried fruits (currants, cherries, prunes), mushrooms and root vegetables will also be delicious with this wine. Good choices include chicken with pine nuts and currants, juniper-brined pork chops, or Moroccan-style chicken with olives, herbs and dried fruits. Enjoy any remaining wine with a selection of cheeses, whose sharp, salty flavors will marry beautifully with the Ruché's moderate tannins.
"What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile." ~ William Sololin