The Sierra de Francia, near the Portuguese border due west from Madrid, is an area mostly known for its incredible ham and as a weekend escape for people from Salamanca. Rugged and mountainous, it is a place of incredible beauty. Much of the area is protected as a national park and as a biosphere reserve.
But the Sierra de Francia also holds another treasure: the Rufete grape, a rare indigenous variety that can also be found across the border in central Portugal.
This grape is at the heart of the Sierra de Salamanca D.O., a tiny viticultural area and one of the youngest Spanish D.O.s, located in the Sierra de Francia mountains. Within this denomination, La Zorra stands out as the most quality-driven, forward-thinking winery.
Agustin Maillo is dedicated to elevating the native grape of his home to the status it deserves. The owner of a restaurant in the small town of Mogarraz, his family has always made a little wine, but it was only a few years ago that Agustin decided to start working on a commercial scale.
From 60+ year old vines on granite and slate soils, he carefully crafts three cuvées. The Teso Rufete is designed to show off the characteristics of the grape grown on granitic soils. La Zorra is a 50-50 blend of Rufete and Aragones (the local name for Tempranillo), this blending being typical of the area. And the Teso Blanco has the particularity of being made with Rufete Blanca, a rare old indigenous variety about which very little is known.