Ruggero Ruggeri, a native of Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene, is a young enologist who consults with a few local wineries. In 2010 he decided to start making his own wine using the grapes from the 4 hectares of vineyard planted by his parents, until then sold to other producers of the area.
Located in the hearth of the scenic Valdobbiadene DOCG zone, the vineyards sit in steep hills, yielding much less quantity and far better quality grapes than often over-cropped sites in the plains at the bottom of the valley. The vines are all of the Glera varietal, the altitude 300 meters above sea level, the soil is a low-nutrient mixture of clay and limestone. 3000 vines per hectare.
Ruge, which takes its name from the way Ruggero is called by his friends, for now bottles very small quantities of wine, 13.000 bottles in total, but aims at eventually bottling all of their wine reaching 3500 cases.
Ruge makes 2 versions of Prosecco: the Primario Valdobbiadene extra dry, 14 grams of sugar per liter, spends 3 months on the lees and is vinified using the Charmat method for a prolonged time, 40 days.
The Prosecco Essenziale undergoes a natural re-fermentation in the bottle, which is the ancient method for obtaining sparkling wine, before the Charmat method was invented in 1907 (adapting an invention by Martinotti dating 1895). In the early spring the wine is bottled unfiltered “col fondo” which means with bottom or lees, still containing yeasts. The first warm days start a second fermentation and the yeasts consume all the sugars and create CO2. The yeasts remain at the bottom of the bottle. One can chose to decant the wine and pour the sediment all in one glass then share the sediment amongst the full glasses, or gently shake the bottle upside down a couple of times before opening the bottle. Opting for the latter the wine being poured will be cloudy, combining the fruity character of Glera with classic yeasty, breadcrumbs flavors. The wine has zero sugars therefore ideal with food, and has no added sulfites.
The Colfondo style of Prosecco represents a return to peasant traditions and is gaining increasing popularity amongst Prosecco drinkers.
Ruge is one of a small group of young wineries who are becoming the ambassadors of this renewed tradition.