La Cascinetta

Location: Castagnole Monferrato, Piedmont
Year Established: 2008
Size: 3.5 hectares
Varieties: Barbera, Grignolino, Ruchè
Viticulture: No pesticides or herbicides
Vinification: Indigenous yeasts, raised in stainless steel for six months before bottling with minimal sulfur

Valentina Bortolin and Giancarlo de Fiore do all the vineyard work and winemaking themselves on this isolated little farm on the eastern side of Piedmont. Of their three and a half (formerly abandoned) hectares of vines, a bit more than two hectares are planted to Ruchè, producing just 500 cases per year. The others have Grignolino & Barbera, along with a small amount of Cortese.
The Ruchè virtually jumps out of the glass with crazy aromas of violets, dark fruits, and exotic spices. This native Piemonte variety had nearly disappeared before it was revived in the mid-1960s, and today the entire appellation is only 100 hectares. In his book Native Grapes of Italy, author Ian D’Agata declares, “If there is one Italian grape that wine lovers really ought to know, it is Ruchè.”