Cultivated pleasure

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LITTLE known outside Spain, Verdejo is one of the nation´s most cultivated white wines, though not to be confused with the similarly named Verdelho from Portugal.

Verdejo is named after the green colour of the grapes and is produced mainly in Rueda, a region about two hours north of Madrid.

Thought to have been imported around the 11th century from North Africa, the grapes are better cultivated in high altitude vineyards in calcareous and well drained soil, and are generally harvested at night to control temperature.

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Fermented in stainless steel, Verdejo labelled wine contains at least 50 per cent Verdejo grapes blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo/Viura.

But anything labelled Rueda Verdejo has at least 85% Verdejo, with the remaining usually Sauvignon Blanc.

Crisp, aromatic and light bodied, Verdejo is often compared to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

Expect a fresh acidity with prevailing lemon, kiwi, pear and green apple,  accompanied by nutty overtones.

A dry wine, it should be served chilled and is better drunk within two years of bottling.

It goes well with seafood and shellfish, pairs nicely with seafood paella and tapas, and additionally the acidity compliments asparagus, olives or salads with vinaigrette dressings.

Alternatively, it can be an early evening snacking wine.

Priced € 3 – 9, some labels I have enjoyed include Corbata by CuatroRayas;  JosePariente; 12 Linajes by Garci Grande; Camina by Coop Cristo de la Vega; Condesa de Leganza and  Chozo Viejo by Prado Rey.

 Happy tasting!

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