Hemmed in between some of Spain’s top red wine regions, it seemed this enclave of white had no hope. But Rueda’s success has been swift – leading to potentially even greater problems. Sarah Jane Evans MW considers its future...
Top eight Ruedas to try
Belondrade y Lurton, Verdejo 2011
The smoky nose promises a richly textured palate. So it proves: initially lime and passion fruit with mouthwatering freshness, building to a voluptuously creamy textured finish. Very long and brilliantly integrated. 10 months in French oak.
Price: £28.95-£31.70 Hedonism, Solent Cellar, Spaniche, Uncorked
Naia, Naiades 2010
Who needs Chardonnay to make a deliciously elegant white? Take super-selected Verdejo on gravel soil, add lees ageing and French oak. One of Rueda’s mineral stars, proving that oak need not drown an aromatic variety.
Price: £18-£22 All About Wine, D Byrne & Co, Great Grog, Halifax, Hanging Ditch, Hedonism, Highbury, Oxford Wine Co, Noel Young, Reserve, The Secret Cellar, WoodWinters
Viñedos de Nieva, Pie Franco 2011
From pre-phylloxera, own rootstock (pie franco) bush vines. Isolated, high-altitude vineyards give intensely floral wines, powerful and concentrated.
Price: £15.50 Boutique Wine Co
José Pariente, Cuvée Especial Verdejo 2012
Second vintage made in concrete egg-shaped fermenters; from 35-year-old bush vines. Floral aromas, but the key is its elegant silky texture – very long and pure. Verdejo lifted to another level.
Price: n/a www.lavinia.es
Vinos Sanz, Finca La Colina Verdejo 2012
From a single vineyard planted with old vines. Intensely green herb, green fruit aromatics. Blossoms in the mouth to lively lime and stone fruit. Broad, creamy, concentrated finish.
Price: £14 H2Vin
Marqués de Riscal, Finca Montico 2011
Which to choose from the Riscal wines? Montico because it is the single-vineyard, purest expression of Verdejo from a team who have been 40 years in the region. Hence the careful expression of fennel and white flowers, and the rich mid palate, with a fresh bite on the finish.
Price: £15.95-£16.75 Exel, Great Western Wines, Invinity, Williams McKenna
Agrícola Castellana, Cuatro Rayas Viñedos Centenarios 2012
This co-op turns out plenty of Rueda for its price-conscious customers. Here the benefit of old vines shows through, with a golden peach richness, lifted by typical herbal and fennel
Price: £8.29 All About WIne, Exel, ThirtyFifty
Bodegas Menade, V3 2011
This is a bold, full-on style of Verdejo, winning Silver at DWWa 2013. Full-bodied, and leavened by white peach fruit and a satisfying crunch of freshness at the end.
Price: n/a UK www.menade.es