La Zorra Teso Blanco 2013
Wine: La Zorra Teso Blanco
Region: Sierra de Salamanca
Grapes: Palomino, Rufete Blanca, Moscatel
Vines: Lutte Raisonnée (sustainable)
If you're looking to try something a little different, here's your adventure. From a relatively new D.O. at the foothills of the Sierra de Francia mountains, not far from the Portuguese border, Augustin Maillo is making small lots of two reds and this white, a blend of 59% palomino, 29% rufete blanca, and 12% moscatel. The Maillo family has made wine for years, but only recently begun making quantities that could support an export market. The vines are farmed ultra sustainably, leaning heavy toward the natural, in granite and slate soils, and are over 60-years old. Natural yeast fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks helps preserve the wine's fresh acidity. But five months aging in neutral oak barrels under a layer of flor adds an intensely interesting layer. The wine reminded me of a Manzanilla sherry from further south in Spain, where flor is integral to the winemaking process. The palomino grape, the majority in this blend, is known as the sherry grape and is the sole component in sherry from Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Manzanilla), also the palest and least oxidized of the sherry family. Moscatel is also used to some extent in sherry wines, especially sweet sherries. Rufete blanca however, is a nearly extinct variety native to the Sierra de Salamanca region.
La Zorra Teso Blanco 2013 is a pale yellow straw color and the nose initially super aromatic, reminiscent of viognier, with apricot and white flowers. Preserved lemon and apricot followed on the palate with an alluring acidity that rolled off the tongue and worked alongside a fuller mouthfeel and a funkiness that reminded me of some Southern Italian and Greek varieties. Yummy. After two days in the fridge, sealed with the Vacu Vin of course, the apricot took a back seat and a lightly toasted hazelnut flavor set in. Both days it was incredibly interesting, a wine that can stand up to bolder flavors like gumbo with a little kick or pickled vegetables and marinated, cured tuna.