Although red wine is the king in northern Spain – especially going west / south west from Navarra, Rioja, Ribero del Duero, Cigales and Toro – there is an outlier: Rueda and its refreshing whites. Established as a Denominacíon de Origen (DO) as recently as 1980, Rueda is now established as an ultra-reliable source of easy-drinking white wines. There are four permitted white varieties:
- Verdejo (indigenous to Rueda, not too dissimilar to Sauvignon Blanc in profile)
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Viura (the white grape of Rioja, aka Macabeo in Cava)
- Palomino Fino (the main Sherry grape, also used for Sherry-style fortifieds in Rueda)
SuperValu Ireland recently won Best Supermarket Wine Outlet 2019 in the Sunday Business Post Gold Star Awards. Below are two contrasting Rueda wines which are on special promotion from 14th Feb to 6th Mar 2019.
Disclosure: both wines kindly supplied as samples, opinions remain my own
Blume Rueda Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (12.5%, RRP €11.99 down to €8.00 at SuperValu)
This is a very green style of Sauvignon – which is neither criticism or praise, simply an observation – with gooseberry, grapefruit, grass and green pepper notes. It has striking acidity which make it great for pouring at parties or acting as a foil for shellfish. Tasted blind it could be taken for a Loire Sauvignon such as a Touraine, so goat’s cheese would be another great pairing (I’m speaking hypothetically here as I don’t do cheese!)
Viña Albali Rueda Verdejo 2017 (13.0%, RRP €11.99 down to €8.00 at SuperValu)
From 100% Sauvignon Blanc to 100% Verdejo, the autochthonous grape of Rueda. The label shows the herons which famously nest in the area – another indigenous species. This is a clean, unoaked wine with a little more body than the Blume above, and is somewhat softer in nature – the acidity is less obvious and the fruits are more rounded – some juicy peach and pear in among the citrus. This would also be a great party wine but could partner well with a range of dishes, from salads or seafood to poultry.
Both these wines are inexpensive at their regular price and are fair value. They show two different sides to the Rueda region and so are interesting to try together. On a warm day (perhaps difficult to imagine in Ireland right now) I’d take the refreshing savvy, otherwise I’d chose the Verdejo.
And at the reduced price, they are both a steal!