Though Spain is better known for the red wines of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, the Rueda, located north east of Madrid, is home to arguably Spain’s best white wine, Verdejo. Similar in style and characteristics to Pinot Gris, Verdejo fully expresses itself in the high altitude of Rueda where it showcases lemon and citrus, minerality and above all, a sharp acidity which makes it compelling with the tapas so that are so ubiquitous around the region. It’s also inexpensive, with bottles exported to the U.S. usually less than $15. Verdejo has been planted in this area for over a thousand years, and it’s believed it was brought to Spain by the Moors. Some producing vines date as far back 130 years. However it has been only in the last few decades that Verdejo has proved to be the best fit for the cooler Rueda region.
Rueda wines made news this summer when MSNBC.com’s wine expert, Edward Deitch, recommended a 2006 Rueda Verdejo made by Marqués de Riscal, calling it “top-value”, “easy-to-drink” and “satisfying.” Rueda, a DO since 1980, is located in northwestern Spain, in the Castilla y León region. The Duero River flows through Rueda’s northwestern corner. Several tributaries branch off from this important river, providing, through their flooding, soils that are excellent for growing wine grapes.