Running along the Rio Duero South West of Valladolid in Castilla Leon, the Rueda D.O was formed in 1980. Prior to the 70s this region had very few grapevines. They primarily grew the Palomino grape variety but much of the vines had been killed off by the phylloxera bug earlier in the century.
Then the Bodega Marques de Risqual came to town and started to grow another local Spanish grape variety: Verdejo. It was well suited to the region and others quickly followed suit gaining Rueda the reputation as one of Spain’s premier white wine regions. The Marques de Riscal Rueda Verdejo remains a popular wine and it was one of the first I tried. However it is over priced, because of it’s name, and not the best Verdejo out there.
To be labelled a Ruedo Verdejo the wine must contain at least 85% Verdejo. If it is labelled Vino de Ruedo it must have 50% Verdejo.
The Verdejo grape is often called the Sauvignon Blanc of Spain and many wine makers in the Rueda region are now experimenting with the Sauvignon Blanc variety as well. However if you want my opinion then stick with the local Verdejo variety as they have way more experience with this grape and it’s usually the better option.
Rueda Verdejo wines are known for high acidity and strong fruit flavours: pears, apples or tropical fruit. Some have mineral tones, others green tones and some are just full of fruit.