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New Wave Spanish White Wine

Rueda and Verdejo

Located northwest of Madrid and just southwest of the mythical Ribera del Duero red wine region, lies the hugely successful wine appellation of Rueda. Wine has been produced in the Rueda region commercially since the 11 th century during the reign of Alfonso XI who was the ruler of the kingdom of Castilla y Leon (the castle and the lion). Rueda was destroyed by the Moors in the 10 th century during the ongoing battles and the area was depopulated until Alfonso XI, as a last effort to save the region from complete destruction, declared that anyone working the land would gain ownership of it. In came the monastic orders and wine production was begun in earnest. Sherry style wines (oxidised) were made in Rueda for centuries from the native Verdejo grape. Rueda wines came to be particularly adored by the Royal Courts.

Like many other wine regions in Europe, Rueda suffered in the first half of the 20 th century. The Spanish civil war and the dictatorship under Franco did nothing to benefit the local wine industry. It wasn’t until Marques de Riscal, the famed Rioja winery, arrived to Rueda in 1971 that the region came back into relevance for wine lovers. The region was revolutionized with the new ideas and technology Marques de Riscal brought, and has become famous for producing delightful, fresh and fruity white wines from the Verdejo grape (as opposed to unfashionable, Sherry style wines). Riscal also introduced Sauvignon Blanc to the Rueda wine region, which they discovered blended sublimely with Verdejo. These days, Rueda is wildly successful and producing amazingly good value for money fruity wines that are regularly compared to French Sancerres and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Top Rueda wineries producers include: Marques de Riscal, Castilla la Vieja, Yllera and Aura

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