This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Rueda over £15 went to Viña Mayor, Rueda 2012 (13%)

Tasted against:
Calamar, Verdejo, Rueda 2013 • Marqués de Riscal, Finca Montico, Rueda 2012


ViNa Mayor, founded in 1980, is part of the larger company HA Barceló. The latter, dating back to 1896, includes other wineries such as Bodegas Palacio in Rioja, Bodegas & Viñedos Anzil in Toro and Caserio de Dueñas, also in Rueda.

Viña Mayor’s origins are in Ribera del Duero, but in 2000 it branched out and planted vineyards in Toro and Rueda. It manages 50 hectares in Rueda and winemaker Philippe Dardenne believes that the Verdejo grape thrives in their location: ‘Our Rueda vineyard is ideal for growing high-quality Verdejo due to its chalk soils and high altitude of 650m,’ he says.

Dardenne’s roots are French. Employment in his native country was followed by 12 years in Chile before moving back to Europe and Viña Mayor, where he has been working for 10 years. ‘Respect for the local terrior combined with the latest winemaking technology’, is the template he adheres to.

For this Trophy-winner, the hand selected gapes were fermented in new French barrels with regular batonnage, and then aged for six months – again in new French wood. The first vintage was 2007 and today Dardenne makes 9,000 bottles a year, the aim being for the wine to be ‘a representation of new-wave quality Spanish whites with ageing potential’.

Written by Decanter