One of the major wine movements that I support and firmly believe in is the local wine movement. For most of the U.S., this pretty much means drinking wine from wine regions outside of California. What is the goal of the local/regional wine movement? Does it make environmental sense for people in Oregon to drink wines from Virginia or New York rather than wines from the west coast? Probably not. However, rather than promoting geographically local wines I, along with many other proponents, suggest that the main goal is to promote little known, yet respectable wine regions that the so-called wine "experts" all too often ignore.
So where is the "local" line drawn in the sand? Are we only to promote wines from the states other than California and perhaps Washington and Oregon? What about the unfamiliar regions of Europe? I am all for drinking and support regional wines of the world. One fine example of a cornucopia of local wines is found in Italy. With over 550 different appellations (120+ IGT and 330+ DOC and DOCG) there are surely more than a few most people have never heard of. Many of these are made with indigenous grape cultivars. One such wine is Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato. This tiny Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) is found in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy near the famous appellations of Barolo and Barbaresco. Only about 100 acres belong to this exceptionally local wine region. Made from the indigenous (this is up to debate) Ruché grape, wines such as these are perhaps the epitome of the local wine movement. To toast to our European regional wine counterparts I opened up a Ruché made by La Mondianese.
2005 La Mondianese, Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, Italy
This wine is a beautiful medium/light ruby red color. Aromatic, this Ruché smells fruity, almost reminiscent of Hawaiian Punch, with a hint of roses. Supple in the mouth, this wine has extremely soft tannins with moderate-plus acidity. It tastes of red currants, bitter, yet rich, cranberries and sour cherries. Overall, a nice wine but I probably should not sit on my remaining bottles for much longer. 13.5% abv Purchased $18. Good (tasted 10/07/10)