Ravishing Rueda

Where will you find Vivacious Verdejo and Viura, two grape varieties full of sunshine from sunny Spain.

When we think of Spain most of us think of sunshine, sea and... fun [he he], and over the last few years two grape varieties have grown in popularity although it is only in the last 5 or 6 years they have become widely known by their names, Verdejo and Viura

In north eastern Spain not too far from the border of Portugal is the charming region of Rueda with its primary city of Valladolid* that is north of the wine region. Here they pro- 

duce mostly white wines with a modern style that are fresh, vi- brant and aromatic and full of ripe tropical fruit flavours. 

A good Verdejo is fresh and full of aromatic, herbaceous fruit, yet the acidity is soft and full-bodied making it a wine you can drink on its own but which is easily good with food too. It is often used for blending but if you see only the one variety on a label you can be sure it will be at least 85% Verdejo and often 100%. 

Verdejo was originally grown in North Africa but by the 11th Century had spread up to northern Spain where for many years a strongly oxidised, ‘Sherry-type’ wine was made. However during the 1970s the wine estate Marques de Riscal began developing a fresher style. The grapes are picked at night where temperatures of 10 – 15°C rather than the day-time where they can reach 28-30°C. The lower temperature means less oxidation or browning of the juice resulting in a fresh, light golden coloured white wine and mechanical picking means less time before it reaches the cellar. Because of this Verdejo makes an ideal variety to use for blending which gives a broader and more appealing diversity to the regions wines. 

Viura on the other hand has much more acidity and in other parts of Spain is known as Macebeo. – I know, I find it confusing too! It is one of the 3 main grapes used in the making of Cava whilst also being the majority white grape variety in Rioja

Interestingly this variety is less liable to oxidation which makes it good to grow where there are high temperatures and where its tough skin also helps to reduce the temperature affect. 

Verdejo is often blended with Viura and the mixing of these two is very successful where it gives a typically Spanish white wine style whilst also offering an easily acceptable glass for many to enjoy. 

You will find both single variety and blends from under £8 to up around £12 per bottle. 

*Valladolid is a lovely city and capital of the Castile & Leon Region. It is not much known by us Brits but well worth a visit once you are off the main tourist paths. Pre-Roman in origin and the city where Christopher Columbus died in 1506 it is a marvellous mix of historic houses and churches, the Museum of Contemporary Oriental Art and even the National Museum of Sculpture. Busy and bustling with much to see and delightful country surrounding it. 

Have Fun Folks ...... 

Enjoy a glass or two but do drink responsibly – Best Wishes  

Andrew [andrewh@georgehill.co.uk

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