June 2024 Blanco y Tinto Wine Club

2019 Cíclon Rufete Tinto
Viñas Serranas

Regular Price: $23.99
Club Price: $21.99

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I can appreciate a winemaker with diverse career experiences. A varied background fuels creativity and curiosity resulting in wines of quality and complexity and reflect an understanding of the industry nuances and trends.

Meet Cesar Ruiz, a dynamic figure deeply entrenched in the world of wine. He’s done it all, from importing, distribution, retail and winemaking. His journey led him to the Sierra de Salamanca, this little region on the edge of Spain and Portugal, where he discovered the rare gem of a grape called Rufete. Here Cesar recognized the potential for producing refined and energetic wines. Collaborating with local experts including DO president Miquel Udina and viticulturist Bosi Jimenez, they founded Vinas Serranas dedicated to crafting red and white wines that reflect the essence of the land and revitalize age-old vineyards of Rufete

Ciclón is a blend of grapes from various Sierra de Salamanca vineyards. Fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and aged in older French casks and steel tanks. It presents an enticing bouquet of dark berries, bitter cherry, mineral tones, and hints of bark and chicory. On the palate, you'll get vibrant, intense flavors with moderate tannins and a long, well-balanced finish, accented by cherry skin bitterness, reminiscent of young Montepulciano. I recommend giving the wine some air before pouring—a little aeration goes a long way in unlocking its full potential! - JML

VINOUS rates Ciclón 90 points.


2021 El Helechal Rufete Blanco
Viñas Serranas

Regular Price: $29.99
Club Price: $25.99

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This wine embodies the essence of its origin, the meticulous craftsmanship and dedication of its vigneron and a great introduction to this little lesser known grape, Rufete. The Rufete grape variety exhibits its versatility by producing both red and white wines. 

This wine takes its name from El Helechal, the name of this very steep vineyard where the soils have high levels of flint, slate and limestone, which are ideal for producing fine white wine. Rufete Blanco grapes are crushed and part of the must is macerated for up to two weeks on the skins. It is then blended with the rest of the fermenting must that was direct pressed.

It’s interesting to note that this variety is not a mutation of the red Rufete but its ancestor. Recently, Rufete Blanco was officially recognized as a grape with its own identity and genotype. This variety is even more rare than Rufete Tinta, and is found exclusively in the mountainous areas in the province of Salamanca. At present, the limited production is showing promising results. It has a long ripening cycle and results in fabulous whites with good cellaring potential. 

I like the orange-wine character of El Helechal — with hints of quince, ripe yellow fruit, and earthy undertones, delicate tannins and a touch of creaminess that comes from aging for 10 months in French oak barrels. It has very tasty flavors and finishes with an almost salty sensation. Overall this lovely wine offers texture, focus, and minerality. This wine would be any fresh-food's perfect companion. JML

Luis Gutiérrez-Wine Advocate rates El Helechal  92 pts.

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