Wednesday, March 04, 2009

An Italian Native from Monferrato

As I mentioned in yesterday's announcement post, Italy's Piedmont region is blessed with a number of indigenous grapes that produce distinctive wines.

This month, I'm beginning my journey into Piedmont with a blended red wine that was brought into the US by wine impresario Randall Grahm back when Bonny Doon expanded (briefly) into the negociant and importer biz. Since this wine was bottled and sold, Grahm has abandoned this venture to focus on biodynamic winemaking--which is too bad, because this wine represented very good QPR. And I'm not the only blogger to think so. Check out the reaction from Taster A at the blog Smells Like Grape.


The 2005 Bonny Doon Monferrato Rosso Piemontese Blend was an interesting wine that, though a bit tight and flat at first, opened up nicely over the course of the evening. It was blended from 70% Ruche, an indigenous Piedmont grape, 20% Barbera and 10% Syrah. Even when first opened, there were heady aromas of white flowers and plums, and these deepened and got more complex and less overtly perfumey as time passed. The flavors reminded me of pomegranate and cherries, and there was a juicy, spicy aftertaste. This wine has lots of acidity from the combination of Ruche and Barbera, which makes it an excellent and adaptable food wine.

We had the wine with a simple, rustic, and flavorful pasta dish: spaghetti with garlicky marsala mushrooms. The garlic was beautiful with the wine's acidity, and the bright fruit flavors in this wine were a nice counterpoint to the earthiness of the mushrooms. I was a bit worried the Marsala and the Ruche would not be a happy partnership, but it was just fine. (If you don't have Ruche, this recipe would be great with another variety from the Piedmont: Nebbiolo)

I got this from the Bonny Doon Wine Club over two years ago, in February of 2007, for $15.30. You can't get it any more--at least not as far as I can tell. However, this wine was actually made by Luca Ferraris, a well-known winemaker from the region and you can find their Ruche for between $18 and $25. Based on the tasting notes on CellarTracker the wine has evolved quite nicely during the two years it has been in my cellar. So if you do go ahead and get some of Ferraris's Ruche, you may want to give it 3-4 years after the vintage date to develop the fruit flavors to go with the upfront aromatics.

3 comments:

Taster B said...

Oh, we love this wine! We opened another bottle recently too, and it had evolved quite a bit since our first tasting in 2007 (thanks for the link :)). I definitely agree with the pomegranate and spicy verdict!

genevelyn said...

I hope I can find this gem. I love the geranium nose of ruche.

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