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  • Writer's pictureNelly Ward

Rueda, Spain - the home of Verdejo

Nestled in the heart of Spain, north-west from Madrid, between Toro and Ribera del Duero, lies a beautiful region of Rueda, known for its exquisite white wines from the indigenous variety - Verdejo.

In the Middle Ages, the vineyards on this stony Castilian plateau, rich in lime and iron, were flourishing and the limestone underneath the town was holding plenty of cellars. However, after the disastrous Phylloxera the area went into rapid decline and turned to the production of bulk wines from Palomino, often fortified in the Sherry style.

Verdejo was rescued by the Rioja's power producer Marqués de Riscal, who recognised the region's and this grape's potential for making exceptional wines and decided to move his production of white wines here in the 1970s. That was a rebirth of this fantastic variety, which now along with Albariño from Rías Baixas ranks among Spain's finest white wines.

The Verdejo wines are a reflection of the region's terroir and the dedication of its winemakers. Crafted with precision and passion, these wines are aromatic and elegant, surprising the palate with a soft feel despite their crisp citrus acidity, vibrant fruit flavours, and a signature herbaceous note that lingers on the finish.

The wines from Rueda showcase the versatility of the Verdejo grape and the winemaking

expertise of producers in the region. From zesty and refreshing style to a more complex and oak-influenced expressions, to late harvest sweet wines and even sparkling wines, made by the traditional or Charmat method, offering a lively and effervescent alternative. In addition to varietal Verdejo wines, blending with Sauvignon Blanc or Viura (Macabeo) can also add balanced complexity.

Verdejo wines are gaining popularity internationally for their unique aromatic profile and excellent food-pairing capabilities. While Rueda remains the primary region for Verdejo production, other regions are beginning to experiment with and cultivate this grape variety to produce their own unique expressions of Verdejo wines. Some examples include the United States (particularly in California), Australia, and Portugal.

Visiting Rueda is a chance to immerse yourself in the essence of Verdejo and experience firsthand the magic of this ancient grape variety.

And if you need any tips, contact me to help you organise your trip.


© All images on this page are subject to copyright. 2023-2024 Nelly Ward

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