Rufete is an ancient and traditional grape variety from the Iberian Peninsula, where it has been grown for centuries.
At a time when the identity and authenticity of indigenous grapes is increasingly valued, this red variety is once again on the radar of wine producers and connoisseurs, deserving of renewed interest.
In this article, we invite you to discover the main characteristics of the Rufete grape variety, its origin and the reasons why it has been conquering palates all over the world. Come along!

The origin of the Rufete grape variety

The exact origins of this grape variety are unknown. It is known that it originated in the north and interior of the Iberian Peninsula, where its production remains popular.
In Portugal, it is mainly grown in the Trás-os-Montes, Douro, Dão and Beira Interior regions, and is also known by other names such as Tinta Pinheira or Penamacor.
Regardless of its place of birth, Rufete has a strong connection to the Douro. It has been grown here for centuries and is one of the region's most traditional grapes.

Initially, it was used mainly to produce Port wines. In recent years, it can also be found in still wines, as the main grape or in blends with other varieties, where it has its unique and distinctive characteristics.

Rufete: a delicate and challenging grape

Known for its delicate temperament, this is a grape variety that presents a number of challenges to winegrowers, requiring very special conditions in order to give its best.
These are some of Rufete's main characteristics:
> It is a grape that adapts well to hot, dry climates and prefers well-drained soils, which explains its great affinity with the schist soils characteristic of the Douro.
> Its bunches are medium-sized, with thin-skinned berries.
> The vine requires a lot of care during cultivation as it is very sensitive to fungal diseases such as mildew and oidium.
> The variety's versatility is one of its great advantages, allowing it to produce different styles of wine: from Port, to still wines, reds and rosés, and sparkling wines.

Wines with a great sensory profile

Wines made from the Rufete grape variety have a very distinctive sensory profile.
As a rule, it produces wines that are very light in colour, with a delicate structure and seasoned with herbaceous notes. In reduced production, where the grapes ripen perfectly, it can produce aromatic and complex wines with great depth.
In general, they are elegant wines with good acidity and soft tannins.

The new life of the Rufete variety

Although widely cultivated, Rufete was for many years an underrated and undervalued grape variety.
Often planted in mixed vineyards with other varieties, it was mainly used as a cut grape in wine blends. Its delicate profile and susceptibility to disease meant that it began to be favoured over other more popular and higher-yielding varieties.
It's only in recent decades that producers and winemakers have begun to rediscover the potential of this variety and give it the specific attention it demands. Today we can see growing investment not only in the production of wines made exclusively from Rufete, but also in blends that emphasise the distinctive qualities of this grape. This renewed interest has contributed to the revitalisation and further increase in the planting of the variety.

A wink to the modern consumer

At a time when the demand for lighter, fresher and less alcoholic wines seems to be a trend, the Rufete variety is constantly gaining fans.
Its connoisseurs praise not only the elegance and complexity it brings to the wines, but also its enormous versatility for gastronomic combinations, which can be translated into very interesting pairings with various dishes from Portuguese and international cuisine.

This growing appreciation has fuelled greater efforts to preserve and promote the Rufete grape variety. The result is visible in high-quality wines that are gaining recognition both in Portugal and abroad.

A secret that must be shared: come and discover Rufete

For many, the Rufete grape variety is still an undiscovered secret.
However, its historical roots and unique characteristics are making it an exciting choice for both producers and wine lovers looking to value the difference and authenticity of Portuguese grape varieties.
If you haven't yet had the chance to taste a wine made from this grape variety, don't waste any more time and take a look at the suggestions we have for you in our UVA Wine Shop.
Satisfy your curiosity, let yourself be surprised by the expression and personality of this grape and discover a new experience for the senses.