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La Miraja

La Miraja “La Ribotà” Aromatizzato Alla China, Piedmont, Italy NV

La Miraja “La Ribotà” Aromatizzato Alla China, Piedmont, Italy NV

Regular price $54.00 USD
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THE WINE: “La Ribotà” translates as spontaneous gathering. The only fortified wine of its kind produced from the red grape variety Ruché, this digestivo is labeled as Vino Aromatizzato Alla China because it does not follow the same dictates as Chinato from Barolo, where it was first developed by a pharmacist in the 1800s.

Estate fruit from vineyards situated at 250 meters above sea level. 40% of this fruit comes from Majole, a legendary, high-density vineyard planted to Ruché in 1975 with southwest exposure; meanwhile, the remaining 60% comes from Santa Eufemia, another high-density parcel planted in 1992 with eastern exposure. Calcareous-red clay soils. 5,000 vines per hectare trained in the guyot style. Only 70 quintals per hectare harvested.

This secret elixir is a blend of the winery’s DOCG-level Ruché wine with herbs, spices, and botanicals. The essential ingredient is china (pronounced “kee-nah”), derived from the cinchona tree native to Southeast Asia whose bark produces quinine. Additional ingredients include but are not limited to wormwood, cardamom seed, cinnamon, and orange peel, all of which are left to macerate in a base of neutral grain spirits and then blended with Ruché. The finished product rests for 30 days before being racked to a stainless-steel tank, where it rests for another 3 months followed by a minimum of 3 months in bottle prior to release.

The wild aromatics of Ruché marry with a host of herbs, spices, and botanicals, giving way to notes of quinine, citrus peel, and cardamom. This bottling bears all the hallmarks of great fortified wine—past-ripened yet still vibrant fruit; delicately sweet and slightly bitter; and a spiced finish that warms the body and the soul.

One of Chinato’s main ingredients, quinine, is believed to settle the stomach. An after-dinner drink to be enjoyed neat or with ice. Alternatively, this makes for a lovely aperitivo when mixed with either sparkling wine or a splash of soda with an orange peel to fashion a unique spritz.

THE PRODUCER: Nestled within the original castle of Castagnole Monferrato, La Miraja was constructed as an armory in the 11th century, only to be retrofitted as a cellar in the 1400s. In this armory-turnedcellar, Eugenio Gatti, a seventh-generation viticulturist, turns out Barbera, Grignolino, Freisa, and his fabled Ruché. His oldest Ruché plantings are located in the famed Majole vineyard, one of the first sites in Castagnole Monferrato where the grape was planted with the intention of producing single-varietal wines. Majole was replanted in the 1970s, and its Ruché vines rank among the oldest in the world. This has long been considered the top site of Castagnole Monferrato—the epicenter of Ruché production and the first of seven villages granted permission to produce single-varietal Ruché under the DOCG. La Miraja (pronounced “me-rye-uh”) is tiny by any measure, comprising less than 4 hectares under vine. It is here that Eugenio devotes his life’s work to producing roughly 2,500 transcendent cases of wine each year. Harnessing his years of experience working in wineries and distilleries across Italy, he imbues his wines with a haunting purity and a simple elegance.

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