Resurrecting an obscure Piedmontese grape!
Meet Luca Ferraris of Piedmont.
In the province of Asti is an estate run by one of Piedmont’s up-and-coming winemakers, Luca Ferraris.
Luca’s family have been making wine from this land since the 1920s, before the area was even granted its DOC status in the late 1980s. Luca has taken on the rewarding challenge of not only growing and improving this boutique winery but also drawing attention to the little known local grape, Ruché.
Luca’s 10 hectares, located inside the Castagnole Monferrato appellation zone, are run using sustainable agricultural methods.
His wines are aged in a deep cellar that was first built in the 1400s and then expanded and finished by Luca’s grandfather.
The heritage of the Ferraris estate lives on through the respect Luca shows for both his grandfather’s teachings and the land itself. The vines are cared for, and the wines are crafted, using traditional techniques, while new processes are also tested to incorporate benefits from advances in modern viniculture.
The Ruché grape is very special, producing wines with pronounced aromas, moderate acidity and soft tannins, and is sometimes likened to the character of the major Piedmontese grape, Nebbiolo.
Despite only 28 producers working to resurrect this little know grape, it has been given unanimous praise by wine enthusiasts, and yet it remains one of the lowest production varietal wines in Italy.
As well as the Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, the Ferraris vineyards also produce Barbera, Grignolino, Syrah and Viognier grapes.
Luca believes that five elements characterise his award-winning wines – sun, earth, warmth, scent and aroma – and that these turn his Ruché into a “fantastic poem of sensations and enjoyment”.
Scroll down for some highlights from the FERRARIS collection:
WHICH WINE TO TRY?
My recent notes on the 2020 vintage remark on this wine's warm, silky, hug-in-a-glass style ... with notes of ripe lime, yellow apple, peach and a hint of pineapple.
A soft, quaffable wine that will pair well with chicken or fish, or lightly-spiced food (especially creamy coconut dishes)!
KEY PIEDMONT RED
A single vineyard expression of a classic north Italy grape, this is Luca's highest expression of Barbera - made from very old vines that produce small and sparse clusters, ideal for producing opulent and concentrated wines.
RARE PIEDMONT RED
As you will know, Luca's focus is on resurrecting the ancient Piedmont grape RUCHE and this 'clasic' wine is his 'introduction' to the grape.
On a recent tasting, I loved the surprising notes of blood orange (reminded me of Grenache) but also hedonistic floral aromas, plus lots of red fruit.
It also won the prestigious 3/3 glasses Gambero Rosso and 91 pts Robert Parker.
This CLASIC will be a great 'first red of the evening' and pair well with a wide range of dishes from starters through to main dishes.
The person we have to thank, aside from Luca, for bringing the Ruche grape to the attention of the world is the parish priest who 'discovered' the vine in his little patch of land - and worked to create a red wine worthy of his flock.
Don Giacomo Cauda left his vines in good hands and Luca now produces a wine made exclusively from Father Cauda's vineyard - hence the name!
If you're looking for food pairing ideas, my personal favourite is duck pancakes!! :)
Psst! The special bottle design was also originated by the priest and is only allowed for the bottling of this particular wine!
Luca's flagship wine begins with the perfect vineyard, Bricco della Gioia - a small plot where the soil, exposure, microclimate, care and selection combine to create a unique wine. The company’s “jewel”, each bottle of Opera Prima is stored in a unique cellar carved out of the ground that has belonged to the family for generations, waiting for a special moment to be shared.
This fabulous red boasts a very floral nose; red fruit and forest floor notes, plus hints of spice. Its character is reminiscent of both Nebbiolo and Pinot Nero/Noir, with some similarity to Sangiovese and old world Syrah. It has great acidity, crunchy tannins, and a very long finish!
Ideally decant for 30-60 minutes and continue to swirl in your glass, to really release and appreciate all those fantastic aromas.
How about something to pair with cakes, or just on its own - maybe by the pool on a sunny Singapore afternoon?
Grab a bottle of this very popular north Italy white - slightly sweet, slightly sparkling - made from the partially fermented must of Moscato grapes.
It's fresh; it's aromatic; and it's devilishly quaffable (but only 5.5% alcohol)!
Still not sure which wine to try next?
Don't hesitate to contact me for personal recommendations and advice.