On Saturday night June 8th, the last official event of #WBC13 will be our World of Wines Evening Party from 9:00pm – 11:00pm. Wines will be featured from across the globe, and one of the regions highlighted will be the D.O. Rueda – a winegrowing region in Spain known for its Verdejo, modern winemaking techniques, and affordability.
D.O. Rueda stands for Denomination of Origin Rueda, and was established as its own distinct appellation in 1980. The production area is in the Castilla y León region (between Rioja & Ribera), which is northwest of Madrid and sits on a high plateau between 2500 and 3000ft in elevation. The climate is considered continental (cold winters, short springs, hot summers) with a slight Atlantic marine influence.
The white varietal, Verdejo, is indiginous to Rueda, and historically, wine has been made here since the 11th century. The Verdejo varietal almost didn’t survive the ages as sherry production dominated much of the region’s winemaking history and the disease philoxera desimated the Verdejo vine in the early 20th century. It wasn’t until a French Eonologist named Emile Peynaud revitalized Verdejo production in the Rueda region in the 1970s at the Riscal Winery.
Today, Verdejo reigns supreme. Though there are some red varietals planted throughout D.O. Rueda, Verdejo and other complimentary white varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Viura (used for blending) account for 98% of all production. In 2012, over 18% of all wines made in the D.O. Rueda were exported. The Netherlands tops D.O. Rueda’s export list, followed by Germany and the US.
You may come across several different Rueda wines throughout your tasting journey. Wines named “Rueda Verdejo”, by law, must contain at least 85% Verdejo. If you see a label that just reads “Rueda”, 50% of the wine must contain the varietal Verdejo. Verdejo is mostly blended with Sauvignon Blanc, Viura, and possibly Palomino Fino. Verdejo is characterized as being slightly tropical with almond aromatics; it has a rich mouthfeel, and fresh acidity. Rueda wines are usually aged slightly in oak; there are some exceptions when blended with Sauvignon Blanc.
Verdejo and the other fun wines from the D.O. Rueda region are known for being of a supreme quality at an affordable price. More and more of the world is discovering the wines of the D.O. Rueda region, and it’s popularity is also no doubt a result of how well it pairs with various cuisines and dishes. Yum!
You’ll have several chances to taste an assortment of D.O. Rueda wines throughout #WBC13, but be sure to check them out at World of Wines on Saturday night!