Sunday, 26 May 2013

Verdejo's green gold

In the province of Valladolid, Verdejo is the king of whites. This white grape is to Rueda, what Tempranillo or 'Tinta del Pais' is to Ribera de Duero. In fact many wineries from the nearby DO are now producing their whites here. 

In the DO Rueda, four white grape varieties are permitted, being Verdejo the predominant grape, followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Viura and Palomino Fino.

The fruity, fresh, young wines from Rueda have similar aroma characteristics as those of the Sauvignon Blanc: lemon and grapefruit citrus aromas, grassy, green apple. However; the hints of melon, the greenish colour and, once you try it, the taste, you know it is a completely different variety. The freshness of the Rueda wines match well the Castilian summers. Meant to drink young and chilled, it will bring to your mouth the freshness on a hot summer day. 

If one can get luckier, meeting Angel Rodríguez Vidal, a legend for the Rueda Verdejo, was my great pleasure today. Following the recommendation of Manuel Perez Pascuas, I called this morning to ask if by chance I could visit the winery. His daughter Sole guided me through the winery dated back to 1780. The visit to this small, full of personality winery was something different and unique. Hand harvested grapes and very traditional vinification method; Martinsancho wines do not talk trend, only quality. 

Their bushed trained, up to 300 hundred year old, Verdejo vines standing well apart in poor stone soils are a beautiful sight, but what captivated me were the small, bright, full of life and wisdom eyes of the 84 year old winemaker. A once in a lifetime experience. 

A man who was pioneer and an active part creating the bases for the Rueda DO, who decided not to sign the increased yield allowance and who thinks the mass produced Rueda wines will have a negative impact on the reputation of the original wines. A dreamer and a fighter, a man of principles, a man ahead of his time. A man proud of his wines. 

Those eyes have seen many things, those eyes know better, those eyes have seen the past and look to the future. A big lesson for me today, not only about wine, but about life.


I am liking more and more this word, which 'just' means health. Just think about it, in many languages when we toast we are wishing each other good health. And wine must be the key... ;)

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