With the increased interest in the white wines of Spain, particularly those of Rueda, it made sense for us to expand our range from Castelo de Medina, from whom we’ve been carrying a Sauvignon Blanc since we started Curious Wines back in 2008. Numerous vintage changes later, the Sauvignon has a better following than ever, but now the range has four additional wines from the Verdejo grape variety, ranging from dry, fresh, light and easy drinking, to full bodied and creamy with added complexity from oak aging.
The Winery, pictured among its vineyards at the bottom of this post, was founded in 1996 with vineyards (planted in 1990) covering 190 hectares, of which 160 correspond to white grapes (Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viura) and the remainder to red varietals. From the outside the winery is traditionally Castilian in architecture, with face brick, stone, wrought iron and wood, however the inside is geared with the most modern and advanced winemaking equipment around.
The first Denomination of Origin (D.O.) recognised in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León, the D.O. Rueda was authorised on 12 January 1980. This denomination rises between 700 and 800 metres above sea level, with flat but high lands that bear up under very long, cold winters, short springs with late frost and hot, dry summers. The dark grey lands are rich in calcium and magnesium, stony but easy to work, with good aeration and drainage.
Valdepelayo is a good place to start if you’ve never tried Verdejo before. If it has Verdejo on the label, D.O. Rueda allows up to 15% Sauvignon Blanc in the blend, which is the case with this wine, giving a subtle nettley lift to the nose and a touch extra acidity on the palate.
Mike and I discovered this properly in a tapas bar in Madrid. Dangerously drinkable, and like the Valdepelayo above, Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 15% of the blend. An aromatic, appley and herbaceous nose leads to a racy and refreshing palate. Great summer wine.
Our only 100% Verdejo does this fabulous grape variety justice, expression all the best characteristics, including that distinctive weightiness to the palate that you won’t find with every Sauvignon Blanc you could buy around the same price. It’s all about the freshness of fruit, grassy aromas and balanced acidity at the moment, but given more time I can see it developing a more savoury edge, perhaps a sort of nuttiness.
This is probably the most serious of the lot. The lovely thing about Verdejo is that it takes very well to oak. The Noble has been barrel fermented instead of the normal fermentation in stainless steel. It is then aged for a further six months in oak, enough time for it to impart subtle yeasty vanilla, almond and butterscotch flavours. Being an ’09, the intensity of the fruit is still there but just a little more restrained than the unoaked Verdejo above.
For the full range from Castelo de Medina, click here, all with 20% off until the end of August.