What is Verdejo? Well, it’s an Indigenous grape from a region in Spain called Rueda. Rueda is the only region that specializes in making white wine and Verdejo is the second best selling wine in Spain and the word Verdejo is the Spanish word for green ‘verde’ and the D.O. was founded in 1980.
With production dating back to the 16th century when the king offered land to the monasteries, the region now has over 74 wineries and 1,500 grape growers. This region is also highly acclaimed for their organic wines and the large number of female winemakers and is 170KM Northwest of Madrid – a place I know many of us will be eager to visit once personal travel starts to re-open.
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The Verdejo Grape
The Verdejo grape has been growing in this region for 10 centuries. The historical area of Rueda and is one of the only areas where original rootstock exists so vines are able to thrive in pre-phylloxera vineyards (phylloxera is a vine eating louse that destroyed almost all of the European vineyards). With extremely hot summers and cold winters – the diurnal shift in temperatures helps to make exotic, exciting and refreshing wines!
This grape varietal is quite special and it has the perfect taste and aroma for the months in a Canadian summer. It is crisp and pure, with a unique aroma of stone and tropical fruit, white floral, and citrus as well as wild herbs, fennel and fresh hay! If you love Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc this is a perfect wine to try and to fall in love with Spain’s Verdejo wines. The wines can be crisp and light and also medium bodied and complex when a winemaker uses techniques like barrel aging, lees contact, clay amphores etc. Many of these winemaking techniques will not be mentioned on the label so you may need to do some extra research to find them – making them that much more exciting to taste!
Verdejo is a wonderful grape to get excited about and experiment with food pairings. When it comes to gastronomy, there are few ways to find bliss. I have been preaching about food and wine colour matching for a while, so I’ll start there. If the colour of your food matches the colour of your wine – it’s going to work. On the other hand Verdejo is a great match with Spanish tapas and your taste buds will travel overseas with mouth-watering pairings like suckling pig, and BBQ’d roasted meats – like lamb or pork, cheese croquettes, Spanish olives, fried potatoes, garlic shrimp, and more. Get adventurous and order something from your favourite restaurants and don’t forget to have the wine adequately chilled for pure pairing perfection.
Have you had the chance to #TasteRueda? On this #WorldVerdejoDay join the festivities – it’s the perfect time to open a bottle of something new and take a trip to Spain!
In many of your wine shops and bottle shops, you’ll find more Rueda than ever! So, it’s time to get excited for a Spanish wine adventure!