Vineyards: The vineyards located in the south of Salamanca are composed of slate and granite. They range from 400m to 900m in the mountainous region of Sierra de Francia and Sierra de Quilamas.
The acidic slate soils behave very differently than the clay soils in Rioja which are slightly alkaline and have better water retention properties. Most of the vines are more than 50 years old.
Appellation : Sierra de Salamanca
Grape: 100% Rufete, an almost extinct grape variety that derived from Portuguese Rufeta or Tinta Pinheira. Rufete was never used on its own until David did his first vintage of Phinca Encanto. He is one of the few viticultors growing this interesting grape variety.
Harvest and Winemaking : Hand harvested in 10 kg boxes, and the grapes are destemmed directly over the top of an open top oak vat where the fermentation will occur naturally. He destems the bunches by hand into 500 liter open top, French oak barrels which are 2 to 3 years in age. Grapes are foot-trodden to naturally start the fermentation with indigenous yeasts which will last about 15 days. The wine is matured for 30 months in neutral (old) French oak barrels where it spends at least two winters in order to undergo malolactic fermentation.
David Lawrason describes it, “delicious and fascinating.”
A young Spanish winemaker, David Sampedro Gil, believing in the grape’s potential, and using organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard and winery, he has created a very intriguing and impressive wine.
David Sampedro looks to recover varieties traditional to the area, giving full respect to nature and to the characteristics of the fruit in the winemaking process. He believes in minimal intervention so that the final product is as true to the particular vine as possible.
After a natural fermentation, the grapes are pressed and then aged over two winters in French oak barrels in order to undergo a natural and softening malolactic fermentation.
The first time I tried the Rufete I was immediately surprised and impressed with the nose – it was abundant, and reminiscent of a sweet pipe tobacco, with dark cherry and mint, too. The flavours are more integrated than those of the Bobal, with spice and earth reverberations, smooth tannin and satisfying fruit.
Wine Align’s Sara d’Amato calls it “immensely compelling offering verve and intensity with a complex array of flavours” and John Szabo called it an “exciting find”.
The experts are impressed, and you will be, too. It is worth seeking out.
-Vin Greco (2016/02, Guelph Today)