I am glad to say that I am back to “old” wines. Today’s two wines are probably our first made from the Verdejo grape, a white originating in North Africa but a Spanish resident for centuries. Its heartland is Rueda about 170 kilometers (some 100 miles) northwest of Madrid. Until the 1970s these grapes were mostly transformed into Sherry-like highly oxidized wines. Not my style. But that was the past. To maintain freshness the grapes are harvested at night when it gets fairly cool so the wine maintains its freshness. Trivia time: The grapevines are often close to the ground because of the high winds. Richard Sanz and siblings, the sixth generation in a winemaking family, founded this winery in 2005. Their vineyards stretch for about 60 hectares (some 150 acres). The website says all their wines are certified organic but neither the label nor the supplier gave any such indication. The companion wine is another Rueda Verdejo costing a few dollars more.
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Description: The history of wine is full of intriguing stories. One such is Verdejo. Over the centuries, it had become the signature white grape of Rueda. At one point during the Franco years (1936-1975), Rueda growers were forced to remove their Verdejo and replace it with more commercially viable Chardonnay. One grower refused. Angel Rodriguez's vines were, in some cases, over 200 years old, so, at the risk of his life, he said no. Because of his insubordination we have Verdejo in Rueda today. All other cuttings of the vine in Rueda, and the rest of the world, come from his holdings. This lively, floral, fresh and fruity version from Sitios de Bodega is a fine example. Enjoy with mildly spiced seafood dishes.” And now for my review.
At the first sips I felt this wine was semi-ethereal. I appreciated its light sweetness and its acidity. The initial meal featured barbecued chicken. This Spaniard presented refreshing acidity. It was somewhat floral and quite long. When paired with a medley of zucchini and Portabello mushrooms the libation was very long, providing a fine combo of acidity and sweetness. Fresh pineapple for dessert stepped up the drink’s acidity and took away the sweetness, leaving light caramel in its place.
The centerpiece of my next meal was a delicious roasted salmon filet that had been marinated in sesame seeds and Agave sauce. The Verdejo responded with sweet citrus. It was nutty and presented very refreshing acidity. The side dish of okra, garlic, onions, and crushed tomatoes over quinoa sharpened its acidity and brought out the taste of tangerines and caramel. Dessert was Haagen-Dazs pralines and cream ice cream. The wine retained its acidity but lost its fruit.
I began my final meal with very disappointing Oriental rice crackers. No Wasabi, no taste. But this Spanish V provided forceful acidity and citrus, along with pleasant sweetness. Then came green beans with crushed tomatoes. The wine responded with crisp acidity. It was floral and I got sweetness. The other dish was a medley of broccoli, Portabello mushrooms, onions, and crushed tomatoes. In response the libation offered lots of acidity and fine length. It was smoky but metallic. Fresh strawberries rendered our liquid friend light but balanced. Fresh raspberries perked it up a bit.
Final verdict. I really liked this wine. I strongly suggest that you buy it in quantity at $8. But if you, like me, have to pay $15, it goes towards the bottom of the buy list.Access the companion wine Another Rueda, Spain Verdejo
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com
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