On the heels of my last blog touting great dry Riesling from the Rhinegau, I’ll continue to spread the gospel of delicious dry whites with unique sense of place – at least for one more posting. This time, it’s off to western Spain and a new release from the Rueda denominacion and a new vintage from tiny Monterrei.
We’ve just procured what I think could be hand-over-fist the best white wine value in our portfolio, Cuatro Rayas Verdejo Vinedos Centenarios ($11). As the name suggests, producer Agricola Castellana makes this stunning one-hundred percent Verdejo varietal wine from vines approaching and exceeding the century mark in age.
The Rueda region is located in the province of Valladolid along the banks of the Duero River. It’s primarily a white wine appellation, ironically residing across the river from Toro, one of Spain’s noteworthy red wine regions. It is home to two native grape varieties, Verdejo and Viura. Verdejo is far away the star here with Viura a consistent blending partner.
Great Verdejo from Rueda typically reveals a juicy white peach and nectarine-skin profile, with hints of lavender, rosemary and anise. This Rueda delivers as promised but with depth, persistence and a lovely cut of that crushed-rocks-in-the-glass essence us terroir mavens really appreciate. The finish is lush and long on this one too; a world-class white all for the price of an average California Chardonnay.
A little further west in the Monterrei DO is Godello territory, as in Godello, the other Galician white grape variety. Yes, Albarino from Rias Baixas gets a lot of well-deserved press these days and it too has that special sense of place. But Godello is a more obscure Galician white grape variety that was nearly extinct short of forty years ago. It was resurrected at Bodegas Godeval in Valdeorras and has thankfully spread to vineyards in nearby Ribera Sacra and Monterrei.
The new 2014 vintage of Atalaya do Mar Godello ($13) is an exotic riot of stone fruits, flowers, and citrus, with tinges of baking spices and talc. It’s another complex white that exceeds its quality-to-price ratio.
Both of these terrific values would be right at home with seafood, baked chicken, soft white cheeses or a little tapas with friends.
Jim Greeley, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine & spirits supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @ABCWineJimG