I remember the first time I met Rubén. We were in a bar in Alicante having some wines and a snack at a table the night before a wine fair we both were to attend. I remember looking at him as he spoke while waving his hands. A very interesting conversation, about wine of course, though I must say that at this point I do not remember pretty much the specific topic. I do remember that I enjoyed it a lot. Then we shared more wines at the fair and after it, several visits to his cellar followed. Each visit was, and still are, better than the previous ones, because confidence gives that, the ability to enjoy every time you find yourself with friends, even if it is in dire times as the ones we are living lately.
Rubén is Rubén Salamanca, the wine-producing half with Elisa de Frutos at Bodega Frutos Marín, or as they are better known, Vinos Malaparte, their commercial brand. Their life takes place in Cuéllar, a town in Segovia, Spain, where they manage several hectares of vineyards dedicated to Tempranillo, Syrah and Verdejo, to which they add grapes they buy far from there to make other wines and other projects, such as Uvas Nómadas, which in 2020 it’s living its eighth vintage.
Uvas Nómadas is a project that both decided to kickoff in 2013, through a crowdfounding and each vintage being a different wine from a Spanish wine region: Verdejo from Zamora, Mencía from Bierzo, Garnacha from Cebreros in Ávila… Every year a different project that always has the maximum possible acceptance and rapidly becomes sold out.
Rubén works the way I like best, as it cannot be other way. Wines honest to their place of origin, honest grapes treated in the best way, with the least possible intervention, something that can be done in this part of Segovia where it rains rather little. And finally in the winery, where Rubén produces natural wines. Amazing wines, I should say. I have enjoyed many of their wines and several vintages as well. And I always really like them. Even that rare wine done under oxidative ageing that we drank while eating some croquetas in the plaza of the music band kiosk in Cuéllar. What a pleasure was that one!
I am sure that you as my faithful reader know who Rubén Salamanca is and have tasted their wines, maybe not all, but one or three, right? I remember the first one I tried was a Méprisé Blanco, and from there it has been a real non-stop: Méprisé Tinto, Pico Lunar, Dindi, which is the way he calls his pet nat, his Tempranillos and his orange wines, which he also makes. Once we shared a bottle of their red Malaparte with years (I don’t remember the vintage) paired with lamb. I keep dreaming about it on frugal dinner nights.
But though I like all of their wines, my heart keeps a small space for, as you can imagine, The New Wave Girl, their orange wine. 30 days on the skins, ageing in a clay amphora… what else can I ask about this wine? 1,000 bottles per vintage are to blame for not being able to enjoy this wine more, but if you have one or two bottles, you are a lucky person. Just drink it one sip at a time while savoring the contents of the glass.
Rubén is an artist. With him I have also learned to see the difference in a wine depending on the capacity of the barrel where it is aged. He has a red wine in two different barrels, 500 and 225 liters. Oh, my friend, I take home with me everything in the 500 one.
Recently, Elisa and Rubén have been accepted as members of the Italian association Triple A, which means Agricultor, Artisan, Artist. It is an association formed by natural wine producers coming from many european countries. it is a big accomplishment as in Spain there are only a handful of member wineries.
And there is much more, because Rubén keeps innovating each vintage. He does not stay still and that is the key to growth: that each passing year different things are done in different ways to continue learning.
Soon we will talk with Rubén Salamanca about his tastes and his wines.