La Mancha, Spain, Verdejo, White wines

Paso a Paso Verdejo 2008

Winemaker: Rafael CoñizaresPaso a Paso Verdejo 2008
Grape: 100% Verdejo
Region: La Mancha, Spain

See other wines from Bodegas Volver:
Volver 2006
Campos Reales

This is the first Verdejo wine produced from La Mancha, the traditional region of Tempranillo. The vines, planted in 1998, grew on 34 acres, at an altitude of 1980 ft above the sea level. The sandy soils (that goes over 3 ft deep), are supported by large river stones, with a lot of iron, clay and chalk. Vines are facing very cold winters and hot summers with cool nights and not enough rain.

Rafael, the Spanish enologist, is excited to work with the Verdejo grape in this conditions and the result in the bottle speaks about his carefully nourishing approach. Paso a Paso, at $9.99 price tag, could be considered the best value Verdejo. The same wine, typically coming from Rueda, averages $ 13.00-$14.00 a bottle.

Tasting notes:
Medium yellow color with lemony aromas. Crisp and refreshing white wine that shows mineral and citrus fruits notes. The La Mancha soil, that gives its wines from Tempranillo a typical smokiness, could be slightly detected even in this Verdejo. Acidity is nicely balanced and Paso a Paso has a lovely, long finish. Refreshing white wine to be sipped on the porch on hot nights.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 10.00

Ideal food pairing:
Salads with lemony dressings, seafood dishes, tapas…

Rueda, Spain, Verdejo, White wines

Naia 2008


Winemaker: Eulogio Calleja
Grape: 100% Verdejo
Region: Rueda, Spain

See other wines from this producer:
Las Brisas

One of the most respected winemakers in the region of Rueda partnered with Javier Alen, well respected Galician producer of white wine (Vina Mein) and Victor Rodriguez, the former director of the highly acclaimed magazine Vino y Gastronomia, for this project.

Bodegas Naia owns 40 hectares in the village of La Seca which is considered by experts the “Grand Cru” of the denomination. Average age of these vines is 30 years with 5 hectares of 95 year old vines .

Since the Middle Ages Verdejo has been the traditional varietal here on the left bank of the Duero River. Naia is crafted from the oldest ungrafted vines of Verdejo (90+ years) on earth. Wine aged for 8 months in French oak after its stainless steal fermentation.

Tasting notes:
Very unique wine. Great example of Verdejo from Rueda. Fresh, lively, and aromatic with superb precision and plenty of acidity and crispiness. Lemony and lime flavors with honeydew-like fruit. Just delicious!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 20.00

Ideal food pairing:
Shrimp scampi, Chicken Dopiaza, Tilapia, Super Artichoke hot dip, Magic chicken, Crisp pork medallions with creamy Caper sauce

Rueda, Spain, Verdejo, White wines

Oro de Castilla 2008


Winemaker: Pablo del Villar
Grape: 100% Verdejo
Region: Rueda, Spain

Bodegas Hermanos Villar, founded in 1995 is owned by Villar Brothers. They own 247 acres of vineyards with a very unique soil in the town of Rueda.

Their vineyards are planted with popular Spanish grape varieties such as Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc and Viura (Whites) and Tempranillo (red). So far I had the opportunity to taste their 3 white wines (no reds produced from these vineyards yet) and I loved them all.

Their Ipsum is blend of 60% Verdejo and 40% Viura, Oro de Castilla is made from 30 years old vines and has a mature sister called Oro de Castilla Barrica which is a selection of the best grapes. Rich Barrica is also the only white wine that winery ages in oak.

Villar brothers will even harvest their grapes during cold nights to maximize freshness and avoid oxidation. The unique gravel soil profile makes wines from these vineyards distinct from any other vineyards in the region.

Tasting notes:
Crispy, mid-body Verdejo has a beautiful aroma of citrus fruit. On the palate it offers refreshingly bitter citrus and pear skin flavors. The wine shows great minerality that comes from its unique soils.

To me, Oro de Castilla is the best example of Spanish Verdejo I have tasted so far. Although expressing a lot of fruit, it is also beautifully balanced with its natural acidity. This wine is wonderful on its own but I was sipping it with a platter of Spanish fine jamon (ham) and cheeses. Divine! Pay attention to the vintage though. Verdejo needs to be drank fresh (max. 2 years).

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 12.00

Ideal food pairing:
Rich shellfish dishes, shrimp scampi, Baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta, sushi. chicken Caesar salad, seafood salads, grilled chicken with veggies, asparagus risotto, Spanish ham and cheeses and many more