On my recent sourcing trip to France and Italy, one of the main objectives was to find qualitatively excellent but affordable Burgundy. With worldwide demand at a peak and production at all time low, prices have skyrocketed. The only way to beat the market was boots on the ground.
However, the best Burgundian find of my trip came on the Italian side of the border. Just a bit north-east of Asti, in the rolling hills lies the tiny DOCG of Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato. There are only 40 to 50 hectares of total production, making it one of the smallest regions of the Piedmont.
But the wines here were astounding. I supposed there’s good reason, they’ve kept Ruche to themselves for the last 100 years or so. The grape has ampelographers confused with two theories having been put forth. One is that the grape is a Burgundian transplant brought to the region in the 1700s. Others claim its indigenous to Asti.
Having tasted it, one can easily see the Burgundian connection. Doglia’s Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato 2022 is medium bodied with scents of fresh cut lavender. On the palate, it’s an absolute delight, full of flavor but with an acid backbone that make it perfect to pair with almost any cuisine. Notes of wild fruits and a touch of pepper are just so good.
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