Friday, January 07, 2005

Grassy Whites from Rueda

Rueda is considered to be one of the best value white wine regions in Europe at the moment and the region seems to be going from strength to strength. Delicious, fruity and zippy wines are being made and selling at less than 5 euros in Spain and less than 10 dollars in the States. This is incredible value. The other main characteristic of the region is reliability. Similar to Chile, you can almost guarantee that a white selected form Rueda will always be good. Sometimes they are great, but they are always good. After tasting more than thirty wines from the region, I haven’t tasted any bad ones. This is a feat!

Rueda is located in northern Spain, northwest from Madrid, close to the red wine producing areas of Ribera del Duero and Toro. The native grape is called the Verdejo and has enjoyed a surprising Renaissance in Spain in the last few years. Whereas before, the Verdejo was used to make Sherry style oxidised wines, vintners realized that the grape was capable of making extremely fruity, tropical and grassy fresh wines. In the 1970’s, the prestigious Rioja producer Marques de Riscal invested money in the region and started experimenting with the Sauvignon grape, both in making single varietal wines and also blends with the Verdejo. At the time, the other wineries viewed Riscal suspiciously, but as these things go, today most Rueda wineries make a Sauvignon Blanc. / Verdejo blend! And they are delicious!

Here are my absolute favorite Rueda wines and sample food matching:

1. Marques de Riscal Sauvignon and Marques de Riscal Verdejo, DO Rueda

Pair with Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad

2. Belondrade y Lurton Barrel Fermented Verdejo, DO Rueda

Pair with Pasta Carbonara

3. Aura Verdejo, DO Rueda

Pair with Cream Cheese Crostini and Black Olives

Links on Rueda:

Rueda Wine Information

Rueda Wine Tours

Buy Rueda Wines for Shipping from Spain

Rueda Wines in the UK

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Winter Wines from Ribera del Duero, Spain

As winter approaches, our wine cravings change to deep, hearty red wines to keep us warm on those chilly nights. The wine region of Ribera del Duero, north of Madrid, is a region world famous for its rich, heavy velvety reds. While Vega Sicilia, Pesquera and Pingus are probably the region’s famous wineries, there are a host of other lesser known and better value wines. My picks of the season from Ribera del Duero would have to include:

Emilio Moro Malleolus de Valderramiro 2001- 100% Tempranillo. This wine has oomph! Intense black cherries and toasty vanilla on the nose and deliciously balanced on the palate (with good tannins and attractive fruit). This is quite a serious wine. A good value second option is the Emilio Moro Malleolus 2000, also fantastic at a third of the price.

Arzuaga Reserva Especial 1999- 95% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. Rated 92 points in the Guia PeƱin and 90 points fro Robert parker, this wine is silk and fruit, gorgeous! Decant at least one hour before drinking, it really opens up. One of my favorite wines of the year.

Matallana 2001- 100% Tempranillo. Made by the hunky Spanish winemaker (likened to George Clooney), Telmo Rodriguez, this wine while having long-term aging potential is showing marvellously now. The nose is incredible (be sure to decant hours before, to release the powerful bouquet), with intense black fruits and elegant secondary notes of oak, dates and a touch of spice. Luscious mouthfeel and great length.


Spanish Wines and Restaurants in New York

Wine Tours Ribera del Duero

Buy Spanish Wine in New York