Diez Siglos: a Fresh New Breeze across the Rueda Landscape

Diez Siglos winery in the Rueda winemaking region of the Spanish province of Castilla y León

Diez Siglos was established when 65 wine growers based in the Rueda region in the northwest of Spain got together and expressed their desire for the Verdejo grape to be celebrated and nurtured like other Spanish varieties. So they set about creating a winery that celebrated the legacy of what they called ‘one of the most exciting varieties in Spain’, along with creating new ways to promote environmental sustainability within the wine industry.

Before we get into the history and creation of Diez Siglos, it’s important to know why the wine growers were so adamant in advocating for this particular grape.

The Verdejo grape is only grown in the Rueda wine region in the province of Castilla y León. Still relatively unknown to the mass public, this grape variety sports juicy lime flavours and green melon notes, with a touch of fennel and white peach — delish for any devout New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc drinkers. Light on the palate with a dashing acidity, there is an almost crunchy-to-the-mouth feel because it’s so rich in flavour and personality.

But the Verdejo grape doesn’t stop here. Verdejo wines can also improve with age. Move over chardonnay, it’s Verdejo’s time to shine.

The weather of the Rueda winemaking region of the Spanish province of Castilla y León is hot in summer and cold in winter

Weather conditions in the Rueda winemaking region of the Spanish province of Castilla y León are hot in summer and cold in winter. Picture: Diez Siglos

The Rueda and Castilla y León regions have quite an interesting climate. It’s either dry and sweltering hot or spine-shiveringly cold. The sandy vineyards have helped the Verdejo variety escape the phylloxera disease, which means there are a number of old-vine Verdejo wines. These older vines have a unique complexity and richness to them.

Diez Siglos means ‘ten centuries’ in Spanish. But instead of being a measure of time, it is the estimated amount of Verdejo vines grown in Rueda (10 x 100). The collective was established in 2009 and has 380 hectares of vines at an average 750m above sea level. It has quickly become known as a winery that is passionate about nurturing and sustaining the region’s native variety and working with the land to promote the complex grape.

One of the areas the collective has explored is aging of Verdejo wines. Diez Siglos ferments some of its wines in stainless steel vats before transferring them to French oak barrels. After this, the wine goes into damajuanas (excuse my pronunciation), which are large, tear-drop-shaped, 16-litre glass containers, in which oxidative aging happens. These damajuanas have been used for hundreds of years in the region.

Diez Siglos in the Rueda winemaking region of the Spanish province of Castilla y León is working towards becoming a fully organic operation, protecting its soils for generations to come. Picture: Diez Siglos

Diez Siglos is working towards becoming a fully organic operation, protecting its soils for generations to come. Picture: Diez Siglos

Apart from Verdejo, Diez Siglos also produces wines using Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo and Viura. In recent years, it has also begun cooperating with various wineries in the Ribera del Duero region to market white wines along with the Ribera del Duero’s famous Tempranillo.

From the start, Diez Siglos has always looked for ways it could better the winery and its products. There is a huge emphasis on environmental sustainability and organic agriculture. It has been awarded ‘Wineries for Climate Protection’ by the FEV (Spanish Wine Federation). The main objectives are: the reduction of greenhouse gases, water management, waste reduction and the use of renewable energy sources. (Huge thumbs up from us in Curious Wines, if anyone is wondering).

Diez Siglos wines are also 100% vegan, and 30% of the vineyards are already organic. The goal is to be 100% organic in the next few years. The winery itself is powered by 430 photovoltaic panels so it can be self-sufficient in electricity. So not only do they produce gorgeous juicy wines, the collective also has a long-term plan for the future generations of the grapes and the winemakers in the region.

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