Little known in the United States yet gaining ground is Ruchè. Ruchè, hailing from Piedmont, is a grape of unique characteristics that takes on all of the alpine qualities of the surrounding mountains from this part of Northern Italy. It is smooth and dry yet juicy, with an elegant structure that pairs very well with white meats, veal, rabbit and game. The bouquet is stunning and carries over beautifully onto the palate.
One of the most delicious discoveries I have made in my culinary life is Wild Boar. Contrary to what many seem to believe, it is widely available, but it usually needs to be ordered. Wild Boar Ragù with Pappardelle Pasta was a great complement to Ruchè.
2010 Crivelli Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato - The nose was alpine-wild with pungent hillside flowers in the shade of yellow, crushed bush honeysuckle berries, chalk dust and notes of black pepper. From the nose, you’d expect the austere, yet on the palate it displayed medium weight with sweet raspberry, kept juicy by vibrant acidity. Then, inner floral and lots of pepper notes carry into the finish, which was long with remnants of ripe berries, pepper and a bit of clinging tannin. While sipping this, my mind wandered to the wines of Valle d'Aosta with their peppery alpine profile. (89 points)