We had the pleasure and fortune to participate in a Snooth tasting of wine from Ribera del Duero and Rueda, in the heartland of Spain. The two sister regions are located two hours north of Madrid.
Spain’s most popular white grape is Verdejo, which is native to Rueda. We had never tried any of these three white wines before, but as a result of this tasting, we will pour some again in the future. We may even pursue them next year in Spain.
Furthermore, we were told a glass of water is $3 and a glass of local wine is $1 in Ribera del Duero and Rueda. Verdejo, here we come!
White Wines of Rueda
There are 32,500 acres of vineyards in Rueda, of which 28,800 acres are Verdejo, cultivated by more than 1,500 growers. The area has 69 wineries.
Sarah Howard, a representative of the region, told our Snooth tasting that the winemakers of Ribera del Duero and Rueda were artisanal and sustainable long before those terms even existed. “Their wines reflect an ancient tradition of place, yet have a timeless appeal that knows no borders.”
Characterized by elegant tropical fruit and fragrant citrus notes, these wines are aromatic and full-bodied with lively acidity. And check out their price points!
Marques de Riscal Verdejo 2018 (SRP $13)
This straw-colored, well-balanced, aromatic wine is considered a benchmark Verdejo, a real palate pleaser from one of Rioja’s famous producers, a pioneer of this wine in Rueda. With notes of lemon, grapefruit and some tropical fruit, this Verdejo also features driving acidity and some minerality. A zesty, fruit-friendly wine, pair it with shellfish and seafood salads, or any dishes with pine nuts, which will further enhance the flavors.
Menade Verdejo 2016 (SRP $18)
This 100% Verdejo is so pure, and super appealing to Sauvignon Blanc lovers, which is why we loved it. In fact, our tweet during the tasting noted: “the acidity, minerality, zest – it’s so clean! And $18 SRP. Yes!” The nose conjures up ocean spray, wet stone and melon, followed by fresh and crisp flavors of lemon zest and grapefruit, along with even more minerality than the previous wine. Pair it with garlic shrimp, lobster rolls or Asian dishes.
Shaya Bodegas Verdejo 2017 (SRP $13)
If you like Viognier, chances are you will enjoy this Verdejo. The nose features baking spices and stone fruit. And the flavors are all about peaches too, in addition to apples and tropical fruit. As well, you’ll find it a bit richer and more rounded than the other two. Pair with oysters, shrimps, scallops, fish and pasta. According to the winery, this Verdejo could evolve for 1-2 years, but as we know, it’s drinking well now.
Wines of Ribera del Duero
We did not taste the three wines from Ribera del Duero: Bodegas Cepa 21 Hito Rosado 2017 (SRP $18), Valderiz Ribera Del Duero 2016 (SRP $25) and Finca Torremilanos Los Cantos de Torremilanos 2016 (SRP $17).
But the tweets from our colleagues enticed us to try them when we have the opportunity. For example, wine writers described the Ribera del Duero wines as expressive, fresh, bright, charming, and seriously delicious.
Thank you Snooth and Ribera del Duero and Rueda for sending us samples and inviting us to learn about the wines of this region. We encourage people to find and taste these wines. We look forward to doing this in the future.
Margot and Dave