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Ruché (pronounced in English /ˈruːkeɪ/ roo-kay, Italian: [ruˈke]) is a red Italian wine grape variety from the Piedmont region. It is largely used in making Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, a small production red varietal wine which was granted Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status by presidential decree on October 22,1987, and was granted the more prestigious Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status in 2010.
The current DOC recognized area of production for the wine, covers only about 100 acres (40 hectares) of vines around the villages of Castagnole Monferrato, Refrancore, Grana, Montemagno, Viarigi, Scurzolengo and Portacomaro. Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato is, therefore, one of the lowest production varietal wines in Italy. The grape is also grown to some extent in the neighboring province of Alessandria.
There is some debate about the origins of the Ruché grape. One theory is that the variety is indigenous to the hills northeast of the town of Asti. Another theory is that the grape is a local variation on a French import. It has been grown in the area for at least one hundred years but has only recently been marketed and consumed outside of the immediate vicinity of its production. Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato tends to be medium bodied with notes of pepper and wild berries and floral aromas on the nose. The wine is often characterized by moderate acidity and soft tannins. In the Piedmont region it is often paired with slow-cooked beef, northern Italian cheeses and mushrooms.
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