WTN: Crazy Ruchè!

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WTN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Agostino Berti » Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:20 pm

RUCHE' di Castagnole Monferrato "Il Re" 2003 - Ferraris & Gatto
- Made from the rare Ruchè grape which enjoys a D.O.C. only in the small town of Castagnole Monferrato in Piemonte (near Asti).

Francesco Gatto, son of Mario Gatto, actually made this wine and has since separated (because of a woman of course) from partner Luca Ferraris who used to handle the commercial side of the business.
These guys used to supply Bonny Doon with his Ruchè called, I believe, La Donna Cannone. That has ended. Francesco told me he got fed up with supplying Randal Graham because he bought at low prices and paid very late which for small wine producers like Gatto (50,000 bottles a year) is not good.

This is Francesco's "Cru" Ruchè. He told me in 2003 yields were half of what they ususally were. So you've got a WEIRD grape (which has a weird perfumey nose and mouth) who's characteristics have been doubly intensified by cutting the yields in half. On top of that he put the wine in new French barriques (WEIRD combination) and added 30% Syrah.

The first two bottles I opened of this wine were just too damn weird, flat, acidless. It didn't seem to come together (sometimes a good sign early on, right?).

Today I opened up a bottle with some not-too-spicy vegetarian Indian food.
15% alcohol, a good amount of sediment on the side of the bottle, I was ready for a repeat freak show.

The wine was damn good, in a freaky way. It has harmonized. The crazy Ruchè perfume nose has integrated well with the new wood, the fruit is immense, the alcohol not too bothersome, and what I thought was a flat wine showed good acidity and tannins. What I thought was a freak wine is now a harmonious freak wine with seemingly good structure. Went great with the Indian food.
I think I may have a winner obscure gem here (although not for everyone).

Side Note: I'm not at all against the 2003 vintage. After all, the 1964 Barbera that Mario Gatto made way back and I tasted was still delicious and it was made in a freaky hot year he told me. The 1988 Grumello Valtellina that Alberto Marsetti gave me and beat two 1990 Barolos in a blind-taste was made in a freakishly hot year (he told me the sugars were off the scale). So I disagree with Robin and I welcome 2003 as a natural vintage variant and a much more welcome one than 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994. After all, California-like heat in Europe produces very different results than in California. Like the 2003 Slovenian merlot I recently had...but that's another story....

Regards,
Ago
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:07 am

That is weird? What structural/flavor component did he hope to gain by adding syrah?

Or was that just because he had some laying around?
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Agostino Berti » Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:58 pm

I believe he told me he was trying to add ageability. If I remember right he felt that a "great" wine has to have the ability to age, something he doesn't think Ruchè can do. Problem is he sells all of it so I don't think he has research material. The light style Ruchè people in the area usually make I don't think can age, but his Ruchè is robust, even the normal one (due to low-yields, southern hillside exposure, and the only roto-fermentor in town).
His Ruchè is generally 2 whole degrees higher in alcohol than everyone else's in Castagnole Monferrato.
The oldest vintage I have is the 2001 and I'm going to let it rest a while and see what happens.
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Oliver McCrum » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:38 pm

Ruché seems to me to be the red equivalent of Moscato, and to me the striking perfume of the variety is its chief attraction. I don't know how well it will age, but one never knows.
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:50 pm

Agostino,

Up until about a month ago I wouldn't know what you were talking about, but since then I had the opportunity to taste a ruche in a friend's wine shop. It had too much VA for me, but he was crazy about it. I remember it having very strong raspberry flavors and other things I couldn't quite put a name to, but which your post helps me put into perspective. It certainly was different.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby D. Updike » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:34 pm

Ruchè? I love that stuff. The nose on it might be the best part; it's almost like rose petals.
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:04 pm

Dan, rose petals? I wish! You were luckier than me, raspberry vinaigrette is how I'd characterize what I sampled.
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Hoke » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:17 pm

Well, I happened to have one that did have some age on it (it was a 1999), and it was remarkable in its complexity. I can understand rose petals---as long as they had spice sprinkled on them. But there was mosdef a strong berry tone in there as well.

I was quite taken by the Ruche, and am looking for more---but more like the one I had (at Acquerello); I don't know if I'll care as much for the younger ones.
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:55 am

I believe he told me he was trying to add ageability. If I remember right he felt that a "great" wine has to have the ability to age, something he doesn't think Ruchè can do.


I guess winemakers have the right to play around and experiment..
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Re: TN: Crazy Ruchè!

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:59 am

I don't know if I'll care as much for the younger ones.
Why is that, Hoke?
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