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Rueda

Harmony in a Glass

 In the quest to learn more about the wines of Spain my tastebuds arrive in Rueda and I get reacquainted with the Verdejo grape. I've tasted it a few times, but I'll be honest and say that I'm still finding my way around this most interesting of varieties. Firstly, let's look at DO Rueda.

 It's located in the central area of the depression formed by the River Duero, on a smooth plateau blown by Atlantic winds. If you look at a map it's close enough to Portugal to like Ronaldo, but near enough to Madrid to support Real (I'm guessing that there will be a few of the locals who will take issue with me, but I write as I find.

 Winters are cold and very long; springs are short, and late frosts are frequent. Summers are hot and dry, occasionally interrupted by thunderstorms. These conditions mean that the vine roots are forced to seek out water deep in the subsoil. Among these vines is the Verdejo grape.

 It is claimed that what makes it different is the combination of aroma and flavour with hints of wild mountain herbs and fruit, and refreshing acidity. To see if this is true I'm putting the collection below through its paces.

Castelo de Medina

Sauvignon Blanc 2020

 

 The nose is very fruity with Galicia melon making a lot of the running. Then you get hints of lychee and pineapple pear, earth, grass and cream. Bringing up the rear is grapefruit.

 I find this wine to be interesting but it just needs to bring something more to the party.

3.5 out of 7

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Marques de Caceres

La Capilla Verdejo Sauvignon 2020

 It's clean and crisp, and there are mixtures of apple and pineapple. Playing a supporting role in this little drama is pepper, apple tart and lots of body.

 I'm detecting a touch of honeysuckle coming through, along with jasmine and white blossom. 

4 out of 7

Vinedos Y Bodegas La Granadilla

Dominio de la Granadilla 2021 Verdejo

 Now this is more what I want from a solid Verdejo and I love the clarity that is coursing through this wine.

 There's an excitement of tropical fruit, particularly pineapple and kiwi, but the apple is there along with an interesting nose of icing sugar.

 This is a veritable fruit salad in the glass and in the mouth

6 out of 7

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Alvarez Y Diez

Silga Verdejo 2020

 The first thing that I get is a fragrant floral note and a hint of pepper. My second visit brought me green fruit, baked apple, and was all contained behind an interesting label.

 The taste reveals growing apple flavours, creamy pears, clementine and stone fruits.

 It delivers a lingering fruitiness that makes this a very drinkable wine, and I would say that this is a good wine to seek out if you're new to the world of Verdejo.

4 out of 7

Bodegas Javier

Ruiz Verdejo 2021

 If you like your Rueda wines to keep their modesty, be a pale yellow colour and have a floral nose you're going to enjoy this little beauty.

 There's a wonderful aroma of baked fruits with cinnamon before pear, apricot and lychee ride in for the kill.

 This is a solid offering that grows in taste and interest the more you visit. I would serve this to somebody who has never tasted a Rueda Verdejo before, because like the Silga it's a solid representation of the grape.

5 out of 7

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Vinas Familia Gil

Shaya Verdejo 2021

 It's fresh and full of pressed apples. The colour is straw with a greenish hue, and in a glass it's also clean, bright and almost exciting.

 The taste is intense, and there's white and exotic fruits prevailing. There are herbaceous aromas and tastes but this is quite balanced for such a young wine.

 A good addition to the fold. Spain is certainly dressing to impress when it comes to wine varietals.

4 out of 7

José Pariente

Verdejo Cuvée Especial 2019

 This is intriguing because it starts with slivers of delicate flavour before growing and tasting of ripe apples that have fallen on the ground where they've started to bake in the Spanish sun.

 If you stick around you'll be rewarded with the addition of pears, melon, lemongrass and a lot of citrus flavours. There's lemon curd and herbs getting involved and this is quite a fetching wine.

5 out of 7

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José Pariente

Verdejo Fermentado en Barrica 2019

 Another from Pariente, and if there's a winner it must surely be this producer.

 It's a wine with good body, ripe fruit, oak and baked apple making this a touch above some of the others.

 There was a buttery, vanilla texture that mixed well with peach, apples and grapefruit. 

 It might have seemed a little watery at times, but those baking spices and further offerings of green fruit were worth the wait. The get out was long

4.5 out of 7

Finca Montepedroso

Enoteca Verdejo 2019

 For me this was one of the stars of the event and I loved those tasty baked, pungent apples I was getting as I gave this wine a sniff.

 The lovely green fruit is in its prime and supported by peach, fennel, citric tastes and floral notes that give this wine a great send off.

 It's an interesting wine that includes a slight perfume nose.

6 out of 7

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Bodega Cuatro Rayas

Longverdejo Gran Vino De Rueda 2020

 I sampled this with some white truffle arancini, and I've got to say that pairing worked like a dream.

 As you taste the body grows and gives you apple, spice, grapefruit and peach. This wine has a saline touch that suits it down to the ground. 

 In the mouth I'm getting pear growing on the rise and trying to grab the attention away from grass, lemon peel and a sound minerality.

6 our of 7

Diez Siglos Verdejo Fermentado En Barrica 

Verdejo 100% 2020

 This is the last Verdejo and while it wasn't the best, it had something that captured my attention.

 The colour tells you that this might be a little too oaky for some palates but stick with it and you'll be rewarded.

 It's not a typical Verdejo, but there's a freshness that is showing well in this wine. Included in the package are white spice, green fruit, cream, hay, gooseberry and a acidity that is high, but satisfying.

5 out of 7

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 I found this such an interesting search that placed me outside my viticultural comfort zone. Just as I was forming opinions and starting to get used to a particular taste profile for Verdejo, it changed and caught me off-guard. At it's best I've found it to be a deceptive wine. On the one hand it can be an easy drinker that is full of fruit, fresh acidity and worth sharing at a warm Sunday barbecue. On the other hand it's complex with a variety of flavours often making it a wine to mull over if you want to get the best out of it. My search to understand Spanish wines continues