The Ruggeri family are something of an oddity when compared to many other of the Italian winemaking families. While many have hundreds of years of experience and vast tracts of vineyards that are used to make their wines, the Ruggeri family are instead a much more modern equivalent.
In only a few short decades the Ruggeri family, and particularly their brand of Prosecco, has become extremely popular throughout Italy and is fast gaining levels of recognition outside of their homeland. While they may not have the pedigree of many of their current competitors and contemporaries, what the Ruggeri family does have is a modern sensibility that helps to put them in tune with the demands of the modern day connoisseur.
Whereas many wine makers can trace their histories back for hundreds of years and, in many cases, will have been involved in some rather turbulent times throughout Italian history, the Ruggeri family are instead the very definition of a modern wine maker. Utilising their own techniques and buying in grapes from other vineyards, the family has quickly ensured that their brand of Prosecco has fast become a favourite in Italy.
Established in 1950, the Ruggeri winery was first run by Giustino Bisol, whose Ruggeri Prosecco began to achieve some level of infamy in the local area. The winery was originally run out of a very small premises in the village of Santo Stefani di Valdobbiadene however, as the wine continued to increase in popularity, a move to a temporary site became necessary to allow for an increased production flow. The family moved to this site in the late 80s as they searched for a more suitable facility and, in the early 1990s they finally
found the place they were looking for. Now, with a larger and more advanced premises, this small winemaking company is able to harvest more than 3,000 grapes per year from a variety of vineyards to create what is increasingly becoming one of the more exclusive and sought after drinks in the country.
The new winery is now equipped with facilities that allow the family to produce as many as 1 million bottles on an annual basis, with around 60% of those bottles being distributed in their native Italy. The rest are delivered to a number of international territories and the family currently supplies to more than 35 countries throughout the world.
The winery itself now has two independent lines for wine production, meaning that they can take a considerable harvest from any of the 100 or so suppliers that they currently work with. Those the family does not operate its own vineyards, it does carefully select which grapes it takes from a wide variety of growers in the local region. With an additional 5 ‘soft’ presses, the winery has fast become one of the most efficient in the country and is capable of creating blends using a wide variety of grapes to produce that Ruggeri Prosecco taste.
The producers also ensure that they only take grapes from the best suppliers, most of whom operate in the Valdobbiadene municipality. All grapes used by the Ruggeri winery are DOCG regulated, meaning that only grapes that have been given the Prosecco Superiore seal of approval by the organisation go into the Ruggeri Prosecco vintages.
It is, in fact, somewhat inaccurate to say the Ruggeri household doesn’t have any vineyards, as the winery does in fact cultivate grapes on a small vineyard in Cartizze. However, with only a 20 hectar capacity, the families own vineyard does not produce enough to meet the demands of the public for this particularly special brand of wine and the vineyards themselves are used to cultivate special types of grapes that will be used in more exclusive variants of the wine. These include their own variety of Pinot Grigio grapes in addition to the Glera, which is used in most Proseccos. Furthermore, about a hectare is dedicated to growing the Recantina grape, which is a particularly ancient grape that has been used in wine production for many more years than the Ruggeri family has been in operation.
This huge influx of grapes from different providers has allowed the Rugerri family to develop a variety of Proseccos that are suitable for different occasions. Their Prosecco Brut features a taste of citrus and stone fruit, which combines with a number of floral flavours and aromas to create a particularly elegant version of the wine.
This is contrasted somewhat by the Prosecco Santo Stefano, which has a much richer taste that also features finer bubbles and an interesting contrast between the fruity flavours and the fragrant aroma of fresh bread.
With such a wide variety of Proseccos all available under the Ruggeri banner it is perhaps somewhat difficult to define characteristics that are common amongst all of them. A strong fruity note, whether it be citrus, apple or a similarly fresh fruit, is often found but much of the joy of exploring the output of this winery comes from contrasting their various products and finding the one that suits your own tastes. They have a wine for almost every occasion, so don’t be afraid to experiment to find something that can become a staple in your household.
As mentioned, with such a wide variety of Proseccos all falling under the same label it can be a little tricky to recommend foods that go with them. However, generally speaking, the wine is best enjoyed as an accompaniment to dishes that are heavier in the fruit and vegetable departments than those that are a little more savoury.
In particular you should try the wine with dishes that feature orange quite prominently and it goes rather well with asparagus as well. Furthermore, as this wine is fairly light and easy to drink, it can be enjoyed as a quick refresher with a snack during the middle of the day, in addition to being taken with more simple desserts, such as with jelly and ice cream.
All told, Ruggeri Prosecco is a rather versatile wine and a little experimentation is necessary to find a dish that you can best enjoy it with.