La Zorra Rufete-Aragonés 2013
Wine: La Zorra
Region: Sierra de Salamanca
Grapes: Rufete, Aragonés
Vines: Lutte Raisonnée (sustainable)
Jancis Robinson's impressive tome, Wine Grapes, describes the ancient rufete grape as "demanding, late-ripening variety that is susceptible to powdery mildew and botrytis bunch rot." Can I relate to a grape's personality? Late bloomer, particular, occasionally difficult...maybe, but I've got the mildew under control. On Monday I wrote about La Zorra's Teso blanco 2013, an intriguing blend of palomino, rufete blanca, and moscatel, with five months of barrel aging under flor. If you're not up for something quite so adventurous - though the blanco was aromatic and friendly when first opened -the red is juicy and powerful.
Aragonés is Sierra de Salamanca's name for tempranillo, the principal grape in Rioja and Ribera del Duero. And like both those D.O.s, the wine ages in both French and American oak, which lend distinctive spicy notes to the wines. Winemaker Augustin Maillo is making small lots of three wines, this one his "house" wine. 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. The wine is fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel tanks before spending nine months in barrel.
La Zorra 2013 is a blend of 60% aragonés and 40% rufete. Inky black in color with tobacco and spice on the nose, chocolate covered blueberry on the palate alongside gripping tannins that mellowed over night. Good finish, though the tannins at first open are a little green for my taste, but with generous, rich fruit. Bordeaux drinkers who love Napa cab, take note, this is your bag. I often drink a bottle over two to three days, sealing the wine with a Vacu Vin (I swear by it) and refrigeration in hot weather. I liked both the Zorra wines better on the third day. If I wanted to get there faster, I'd decant this guy and swirl it up in the glass. Good finish, great value.