Ruchè, or Rouchet, is a red grape that is thought to be indigenous to the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy (but some believe it may have come from Burgundy). Only if the grape is grown within the defined geographical area of the Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG, can the bottle bear the Ruchè name. This means that some of the growers outside this area have created other ways to convey the grape variety their wines contain without violating wine law. Rouchet is a common alternative and is used in the production of some DOC wines, including those of Monferrato. It can also be blended with Barbera to create a wine known as Brachetto. As the name indicates, these blends are largely Barbera. Ruchè supposedly got its name by being resistant to the viral infection roncet. Despite this characteristic, it is planted in limited quantities. As of the year 2000, there were fewer than 50 hectares planted in Italy.
At the local wine shop, I found a bottle of 2015 Scarpa Rouchet from Monferrato DOC. Scarpa Winery is known for their Barolos, Barbarescos, and Barberas. They are also known for their 100% Ruchè they dubbed Rouchet. When I poured my first glass, the color was still quite vibrant medium ruby color for a 7 year old red but it had brickish tones at the rim. There also appeared to be the beginnings of the color pulling away from the rim. The legs were faintly stained. The bouquet consisted of ripe blackberries, berry bramble, ripe black cherries, baked blueberries, and with a hint of anise. This dry red wine was lighter in acid with a moderate amount of alcohol (the bottle listed it as being 11-14% abv to cover all the bases of low to high). The tannins added texture to the fuller bodied wine while remaining well integrated. On the front of the palate, I was first struck by ripe blackberries and bambly notes with a touch of cranberry which quickly transformed to herbal notes on the mid palate. The wine finished with a briney green olive character that lingered (and made me want to reach for the castrovelstrano jar in my fridge). This wine would be fantastic if paired with a charcuterie and cheese board that featured aged cheeses, dried fruits and salamies. I opened it and drank it over a couple nights. It remained consistently wonderful from one night to the next.