What to drink this week

Rueda or Verdejo

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

Harry Eyres

rec­om­mends this Span­ish white as an easy drink­ing al­ter­na­tive to New Zealand Sau­vi­gnon Blanc

I’ve been ex­pect­ing Spain’s Rueda, aka Verdejo, to make a break­through or per­haps be­come the new New Zealand Sau­vi­gnon Blanc for those who find that style too goose­ber­ry­green and ex­treme. This hasn’t quite hap­pened and I’m won­der­ing if it isn’t partly a ques­tion of the name or names. Pro­duc­ers in this part of Castile seem di­vided about whether to call their wines af­ter Rueda, the de­nom­i­nación de ori­gen, or Verdejo, the grape va­ri­ety.

Why you should be drink­ing it

Rueda/verdejo has all the right char­ac­ter­is­tics of a ver­sa­tile sum­mer or early-au­tumn white: it’s re­fresh­ing, with a slight touch of bit­ter­ness, but also has good mouth­feel and avoids thin­ness. Now, one pro­ducer in par­tic­u­lar, work­ing with very old vines, is show­ing how this wine can scale the heights of Bur­gun­dian com­plex­ity.

What to drink

At a rel­a­tively sim­ple level, Tor­res Verdeo Verdejo 2015 (£7.99; www. cam­bridgewine.com) is ex­cel­lent value: the nose is at­trac­tively flo­ral and there is rounded ripeness on the palate. Bode­gas Os­sian, closer to Se­govia than Val­ladolid, has much higher am­bi­tions than sim­ply de­liv­er­ing a wine-bar quaf­fer: the com­pany aims to make the best whites in Spain. Some of its Verdejo vines are more than 160 years old and have never suf­fered from phyl­lox­era. Quin­taluna Verdejo, Rueda Blanco 2015 (right, £8.60, ex­clud­ing VAT; www.jus­teri­nis.com) has a sub­tle, fen­neltinged nose and ex­cel­lent mouth­feel. The bar­rel-fer­mented and -aged Os­sian Rueda Blanco 2014 (£21.60, ex­clud­ing VAT; www.jus­teri­nis.com) has an even more in­ter­est­ing, strongly herbal nose plus sat­is­fy­ing tex­ture and length. Capi­tel 2013 (£44.60, ex­clud­ing VAT; www.jus­teri­nis.com) is truly Bur­gun­dian in its su­perb com­plex­ity and fol­low-through.

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