Historia de Cámbrico - Bodega Cámbrico - Vino Rufete - Sierra de Francia

500 million years ago. Cambrian.

This period of the Paleozoic era gives its name to our winery in allusion to one of the most important elements of our wines: The slate and granite soils formed in this period when life exploded on the planet. They are some of the oldest soils in Spain and give a unique mineral flavour to our wines.

Imagen trilobites: licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

2nd century, Roman wealth

The importance of wine in the Sierra de Francia is part of an ancestral culture in our history and landscape. The Roman road Vía de la Plata runs next to it and there are numerous Roman remains in the sierra itself. In villages such as San Esteban and Santibáñez de la Sierra you can visit almost 20 wine presses that were possibly carved into the granite rocks during Roman times and during the previous centuries.


Rise and fall of wine in the Sierra de Francia

Due to the isolation, until well into the 20th century, many families in the region maintained an ancestral way of life very similar to the one that had been followed for centuries. The main source of livelihood was the agricultural and livestock smallholdings. The wine was produced for its own consumption and to be sold in neighbouring areas, reaching as far as Madrid in the 1950s. From then on, due to the great emigration and also because of the difficult conditions of mountain cultivation and the absence of wineries focused on making quality wines, more than 85% of the vineyards in the region were abandoned.

1999, the Cámbrico project is launched.

In the midst of the decline of the vineyards due to the abandonment of the village elders and depopulation, Fernando Maillo, a native of the area, takes an interest in the centuries-old vineyards of the rufete grape in El Pocito. In collaboration with the Agricultural Technological Institute of Castilla y León (Itacyl), Cámbrico initiated a project for the scientific study of the rufete grape. Forty different clones of this grape were isolated in different plots in the region in order to study the variety and make a mass selection that was used for the new Cámbrico plantations. The research was also useful to learn more about other varieties such as the Calabrese, Aragonese or white rufete.

2006. Construction of the semi-buried warehouse begins.

While the purchase of old terraced vineyards in the surroundings of Villanueva del Conde was being completed, the construction of the winery, perfectly integrated into the landscape, began. The architect Concha Sánchez Maillo maintains the ecological and sustainability standards of all the project's processes and designs an almost imperceptible winery that crowns the mountain, made of concrete, stone, wood and glass that blends in perfectly with the surroundings in the centre of the Natural Park. From its terrace you can see the valley of the river Francia, with its lush forests and small terraced vineyards, numerous villages and the monastery of Peña de Francia.

The winemaking and ageing rooms are half-buried in the mountain to facilitate gravity-fed vinification and natural thermal insulation.

Today, 130 micro-plots saved

Thanks to Cámbrico's efforts, 130 tiny farms totalling 11 hectares have been maintained or recovered from the undergrowth. The need to make low production wines and the mission to protect the exceptional ecosystem is imposed, so that each bottle shows only identity, sincerity and the terroir of each vineyard.

Most of the Cámbrico vineyards are located in Villanueva del Conde, where the El Pocito and La Mata de Francia plots are located. The old vines on grey slate are cultivated as a redoubt in the Valleoscuro plot in Garcibuey.

The latest project to recover the white rufete on granite and slate floors is already beginning to bear fruit. The latest vintages have reaped the rewards of the effort: Finalist wine in the Guia Peñín 2021 and 94 points in Tim Atkin 2021.

Would you like to visit us?

Get to know the essence of our wine heritage recovery project. This is not a regular winery visit, is an exploration of the most forgotten wine-growing territory and a reminder of the Roman legacy and of the elders of the Sierra de Francia..