Viñas Serranas "Fuente Grulla" 2018
Rufete｜Castilla y León, Spain
Venture with us to the hills west of Spain, in search of the elusive Rufete grape.
Proprietor Cesar Ruiz of Viñas Serranas discovered a small pilot of old-vine Rufete, a rare Iberian grape, growing in the Sierra de Salamanca region, west of Madrid boarding Portugal. The vines they’ve preserved are bush-trained, gnarly old things guessed to be at least 100 years old, spaced wide apart – as far as 9-10 feet – so as to minimize competing for scarce nutrients in the schist-granite soils.
Rufete – many have drunk it but most have never heard of it. It’s a rare variety found in Portugal and Spain, mostly used as one of the many (80-plus!) grapes allowed in red Port. Cesar Ruiz likens it to the Gamay Noir grape of Beaujolais, an apt comparison. It’s a beautifully aromatic, structured wine in the vein of a perfumed Pinot Noir or Gamay. Blueberry, mint, and candied flowers abound. A soft and spicy mouthfeel is quickly followed by notes of crunchy blue-black fruit, crushed herbs, sweet spice and a lovely melding of fruit and tannins, inflicted with licorice notes.
Farming is organic with biodynamic influences, meaning zero chemicals or pesticides, and totally dry-farmed – zero irrigation for these rugged ancient vines. Hand-harvested fruit is whole-cluster fermented from the ambient, naturally-occurring yeasts in large, old barrels and minimal sulfur is used at bottling. The wine is produced as naturally as any you’ll find.
The color, the fruit, and the earthiness call back cool-climate Syrah, Cru Beaujolais, or a northern-Italian alpine red – if you’re an old-world wine junkie please don’t miss this great wine from one of Spain's most exciting, dynamic regions!