The Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG is an unmistakable wine with its ruby red colour and a rich, complex bouquet interlaced with fruity notes and pleasant floral scents of rose and violet.

Ruchè: the wine of the parson

The history of Ruchè wine began anew in the 1970s when Don Giacomo Cauda arrived as the parish priest in Castagnole Monferrato. Upon arrival, Don Cauda managed a small vineyard owned by the parish, cultivated with Ruchè, an underrated grape variety primarily used for blending. However, the priest saw it differently: he was struck by the potential of this grape variety and saw the possibility of producing a wine of considerable interest.

With this visionary outlook and a deep trust in the qualities of Ruchè, Don Cauda dedicated himself to the recovery and valorization of the grape variety. He experimented and worked diligently to improve cultivation and winemaking techniques, determined to showcase the exceptional properties of this grape. His passion and commitment not only saved Ruchè from extinction but also revealed its unique character and compatibility with the terroir of Monferrato.

ruchè di castagnole monferrato bava

Don Cauda’s efforts bore surprising fruits, so much so that Ruchè began to gain the admiration and appreciation of an increasing number of consumers. This renewed interest led to the recognition of the Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) in 1987 and later to the Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin (DOCG) in 2010 for Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato.

Origins of the grape and its name

The origin of the Ruchè grape is still a subject of debate. The most accredited theory suggests that Ruchè is indigenous to the Monferrato Astigiano, but this is not the only theory. Some argue that the grape has French origins, and it was introduced to Piedmont by the Cistercian Monks from Burgundy, while others believe its provenance to be Spanish.

However, scientific DNA analysis of the plant has revealed traits in common with other grape varieties native to Northern Italy – Croatina and Malvasia aromatica di Parma – which would confirm its national origin.

An equally mysterious aura also surrounds the name of the grape and wine, and here, too, theories vary. One hypothesis connects the name “Ruchè” to “Saint Roch,” a saint to whom an ancient sanctuary near the first Ruchè vineyards was dedicated, likely in Portacomaro or Castagnole Monferrato. Another explanation refers to the local dialect: “Ruchè” might derive from “Roche”, a Piedmontese term indicating vines grown in the higher, fortified areas of Monferrato, thus emphasizing the geographical and environmental connection of the grape with its terroir.

Another curious narrative links the wine’s name to the dialect term “roncet,” a common virus among Piedmontese grapevines, to which Ruchè appears to be immune.

These many hypotheses are why Ruchè is sometimes nicknamed the wine of mystery.

Where Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato is produced

Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG is cultivated in a restricted area of Piedmont, covering approximately 205 hectares in 2023. These vineyards are predominantly located in the area that enjoys the DOCG designation, affirming the tight connection between the grape variety and the terroir of this specific region.

The production specifications of Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG confine the winemaking area to only seven municipalities of Monferrato Astigiano, further emphasizing the exclusivity of this grape variety:

  • Castagnole Monferrato
  • Grana
  • Montemagno
  • Portacomaro
  • Refrancore
  • Scurzolengo
  • Viarigi.

ruchè di castagnole monferrato bava

Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato Bava: vinification and characteristics

Since its grapes have primary aromas and few tannins, Ruchè does not require long macerations and completes fermentation without pomace. For our Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG Bava, we avoid any passage in wood to preserve the grape’s fragrance best. Bottling occurs in spring, and the wine develops its distinct floral bouquet during the bottle ageing phase. Our Ruchè is indeed a wine capable of evolving while maintaining the characteristics of the grape from which it originates and refining further, even up to five years after harvest.

Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG Bava thus reveals itself as a fragrant and dry wine characterized by sweet tannins, moderate acidity, and good alcoholic strength. It is a decidedly aromatic wine with scents of rose and violet and spicy notes of white pepper, a balanced flavour that is soft, warm, and persistent.

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Discover More About Ruchè: the pairings

This unique red wine from Monferrato is an excellent choice for an aperitif featuring cold cuts and cheeses, whether fresh or slightly aged. Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG Bava pairs well with meat-based dishes and many Piedmontese traditional appetizers. Due to its particular characteristics, Ruchè also perfectly complements spicy dishes.

Ruchè Festival

Each year, a celebratory event dedicated to Ruchè is held: the Ruchè Festival, which for the 2024 edition will take place in its “birthplace” at La Mercantile Estate in Castagnole Monferrato, from May 17 to 19.

As per tradition, musical and entertainment shows will accompany the food stands and tasting booths of the Ruchè Producers Association’s wineries, which will offer tastings of their wines. On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19, as a member of the Association, Bava will join the celebrations with its tasting booth.