If you have never tried Ruche, join the crowd; I have been drinking wine for nearly 40 years, and this is my first bottle of Ruche, wine made from an old, relatively rare grape grown near d'Asti in the Piedmont appellation of Italy. It's easy to compare this wine to Nebbiolo because it has a similarly enchanting aromatic profile. But it is definitely unique. As Kyle Phillips of the Italian Wine Review put it: "If you like this kind of wine you will like it very much. If not, you won't and though this is an obvious comment, unless you are absolutely certain you don't I would give it a try." With this bottle, my first try at Ruche, I am delighted that I gave it a try.
It is believed that the grape was brought to the Piedmont many years ago, probably from the Burgundy area of France. And the color is relatively light, similar to that of Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. The nose is incredibly beautiful--like walking into a floral shop and being bombarded with diverse smells from all directions. Also spice, red currants and pomegranate. Intense but also subtle, if that is possible. New scents seem to be appearing with each sniff. Much more delicate in texture and body than Barolo or Barbaresco. There is plenty of tannin here but it is hiding behind the fruit and acid structure. Berries on the mid-palate but almost tart on the finish. Citrus? or cranberries. There are some drinkers who may not appreciate the finish, but I love it. Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato is now on my buy list.