If you’re partial to Spain and white wine which one should you choose? Think of Sauvignon Blanc but Spanish and what do you get? Rueda! DO Rueda is in Castile and Leon, Spain’s largest region in the north-west. An area where over 6 million sq. feet of land is dedicated to vineyards and DO Rueda is just one of the DOs found in this wild, high place.
Leaving Madrid and heading north-west Castile and Leon spreads almost to the Portuguese border. Wine making almost certainly began here with the Romans but it was in the 11th century with the Catholic monks and priests that it really took off. These days it has the widest variety of wines from Rueda’s cool and pleasing to whites to the hefty reds of DO Toro.
Rueda town is south of Valladolid and next-door heading west to Toro which is known for its tempranillo grape red wines and heading east to Ribera del Duero all three are on the edge of the River Duero which winds its way through Portugal to the Atlantic.
DO Rueda make red, rose and sparkling wines but the real shiners and my favourites are the whites based on the Verdejo grape which have been grown in the Rueda region for centuries and it’s thought to be endemic to the area. It’s a fruity and floral grape making a refreshing and light wine great for pairing with aperitifs, fish and chicken.
It was only in the 1970s that the wines from the Verdejo grape became popular and in 1980 that it became an official Rueda D.O. For a white wine to be classified as a ‘Rueda’ it must be at least 50% Verdejo grape and to be a Rueda Verdejo it has to be at least 85% Verdejo.
Many of their wines are actually labelled ‘Verdejo’ so you’ll know exactly what you are getting. But Rueda or Verdejo they are easy to drink, refreshing to the taste and light on the pocket, yet not so light on the alcohol content as they are usually around 13% per cent alcohol.
Five Fine Spanish White Rueda Wines
These five fruity white Ruedas are available in my local Spanish supermarkets and are not expensive but definitely worth checking out of you can find them.
Nave Sur Verdejo – 2015 A floral, lemony and refreshing organic wine.
Vega de la Reina Rueda Verdejo – 2015 A citrusy with a touch of spice.
Carrasvinas Rueda Verdejo – 2015 Tropically fruity with pineapple and spice.
Verdeo Verdejo – 2015 My favourite – bright and acidy with fruity tones.
Marques de Caceres Verdejo – 2015 The name does it for me, silky citrus with tropcial tones.