While Spain is more known for its reds (notably Rioja and Priorat), the country is also capable of producing high quality whites as well.
Waving the white flag is the DO of Rueda, situated in Spain’s Castilla y Leon region, adjacent to the Duero River. The denomination itself was officially created in 1980, but winemaking in the area dates back to the 11th century.
Rueda admittedly produces red wines as well, but these account for only 5% of all plantings, so they are essentially nonexistent. Rather, Rueda’s primary focus is on white wines and more specifically, on its indigenous grape variety, Verdejo, which makes up nearly 85% of its vineyards. The white wines may also be supplemented with Sauvignon Blanc, Palomino Fino and Viura.
The area’s high elevation helps to preserve acidity in the grapes, resulting in balanced wines with good fruit character and freshness. Generally associated with minerality, herbs and stone fruit, the wines are excellent partners with a range of foods including seafood, salads and other light fare. Stylistically, most Ruedas are produced in stainless steel to preserve the fresh and fruit aromas and flavors. However, more recently, some producers have begun fermenting their wines in barrel.
Vina Mayor Verdejo 2012, Rueda, Spain, $14.00
Produced from 100% Verdejo, this wine spent 2 months on its lees, yielding a wine with some depth and complexity. Medium+ acidity, beeswax, citrus, and slight mango flavors linger on the palate, culminating in long length.
Protos Verdejo 2013, Rueda, Spain, $10.00
Although not specified on the Tech Sheet, this wine is likely also 100% Verdejo. It is riper in character than the Vina Mayor with some slight residual sugar noticeable on the palate, but nicely balanced with medium+ acidity and notes of nectarine and citrus.