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Grape Profile – Rufete

Rufete Grapes

Rufete – roo-FEH-te (Spanish Pronounciation)
Portuguese Pronounciation (Flash must be enable to hear this clip.) [sc_embed_player fileurl="http://catavino.net/pronCVS/rufeteCVS.mp3"]

A red grape that is grown mainly in the province of Salamanca that not only produces light wines that can oxidize quickly if not treated with care, but also dark colored wines with rich fruit flavors and noticeable tannins. Recent attempts have been made to make a quality wine from this grape but has yielded mixed results. The future, however, is looking a bit brighter for the Spanish wine grape Rufete as more Bodegas invest in better technology and newer wine making practices.

Recent Tastings and Catavino notes:

I remember getting a mixed shipment of new Spanish wines back in Minnesota for which Vina Salamanca imported by Billington Imports was included. Listed on the label were two grape varietals, Tempranillo and Rufete, that were blended together to make this particular wine. Unfamiliar with the wine, but always up for trying a new style, I quickly took one home and popped it open. What I found inside was a revelation as the typical red fruit from Tempranillo merged with the more earthy and primal flavors of Rufete. Here was a wine that caused me to do a double take, creating a strong desire to search out others just like it. Unfortunately, much to my chagrin, I was unable to find anything even remotely close until I stepped foot in Spain and found versions of Rufete both blended and by itself. In truth, the single varietals haven’t knocked me off my feet but they have presented new interesting flavors that fortell a solid future for this grape.

Listed below are two wines made from Rufete that I have tried this past year. The first one is the Tiriñuelo that retails for approximately four Euros, while the Cambrico can be found for around thirty Euros. Both are interesting, and in truth, while sipping on the Tiriñuelo after having been open for one day, the tannins hd softened allowing the fruit to come forward more. Try it for yourself and see if you agree – if only to add it to your [wine grape collection->http://www.delongwine.com/century.html]!

-Ryan

  • 2004 Tiriñuelo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Tinto – Spain, Castilla y León, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León (2/7/2006)
    Deep reddish brown color, dark. Nose is Funky. Funky barnyard, cherry, and raw meat. This is not a negative it actually draws me back where I find later on leather and anise/cinnamon spices. In the mouth the tannins are fine but intense coating every corner of my mouth and leaving the finish dry as desert. This is accompanied by a strong acidity. In the end though the flavors are hidden by the tannins and while I could find a bit of chocolate, cherry and charcoal it was tough search to find them. Not sure if over extraction is to blame or if the Rufete grape is just a tough one to tame.

    2.5 grape
  • 2002 Viñas del Cámbrico Vino Tinto de Mesa – Spain, Salamanca (8/31/2005)
    [Home page for this winery->http://www.cambrico.com/]Deep ruby red and very dark. Nose of Vanilla and smoke with a lot of rich red fruit hiding underneath. On the palate anise, raspberry and cherry a bit over dominated by oak and spice. In the background somewhere is a green note that could be mint or even basil? Very interesting and while tasty I feel the oak was overdone, not by much, but even after sitting open for an hour the fruit was still having trouble showing through. This is a new winery and while at 30euros this is not the best way to get to know a new grape, with a bit less oak I think it might have a bright future.

    2.5 grape