Ruchè, red wine grape native to Italy and a rare example of an aromatic red variety. It is described as moderately to strongly aromatic by Dr Ian D’Agata (Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs, p.19).
The name: Its name may be a reference to roncet, a viral disease that Ruchè is less susceptible to than are most Piemontese varieties.
Where grown: Piemonte Ruchè is typical of the north-western hills of Asti; mainly around the two small towns of Castagnole Monferrato and Scurzolengo. The best monovarietal example is Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG (a still wine).
Viticulture: Ruchè has medium-large bunches, with medium-small berries. It is an early ripener. Quite vigorous and resistant (though oidium can be a problem). High but irregular productivity.
Wine Style: With delicately floral (rose, iris, lavender), spicy (black pepper, mint, coriander, cinnamon, nut-meg), with a red-berry cocktail quality to its aromas, Ruché makes wines that are impossible to confuse with any other variety. This is despite superficial resemblance with wines made with Lacrima or Brachetto, which are also aromatic red varieties, but are also genetically distinct from Ruché. The Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG only allows dry, still wines. Wines from the town of Castagnole Monferrato are fuller, darker, and richer than those of Scurzolengo, which are fruitier.
Dr Ian d’Agata, Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).
Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.131-2.