Ruche Montalbera

This Saturday, May 24, a red wine made from a relatively rare grape in Piedmont will be released for sale in the LCBO’s Vintages program. The name of the wine is a mouthful, 2011 Montalbera La Tradizione Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG, and in the middle of it is the name of that grape, Ruché, that is less well known than the more famous red wine grapes planted in the foothills of the Western Alps like Nebbiolo, Barberra and Dolcetto. In fact, there is only about 100 acres where it can be grown in order to be recognized by the DOCG, so Ruché is exotic enough in Italy, never mind on the shelves of the LCBO.

Ruché, at least as it’s expressed in the 2011 La Tradizione, is an extremely approachable grape, with soft tannins and lots of juicy fruit. This wine is also particularly aromatic, with notes of rose (maybe even Turkish delight) seasoning a lot big and bright red cherry. It keeps, like most Northern Italian reds, a good line of acid and works best at the table with food, although its round and fruity enough to enjoy on its own, if a glass of red wine serves as an aperitif.

At $24.95 it’s not a bargain wine per se, but it’s an almost guaranteed crowd pleaser: I think it would make a great wine to bring to a small dinner party. Or one to linger over a slow dinner for two on a quiet night. Click here to find out which Vinatges stores are stocking it and all that other LCBO information.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.