The great white of Rueda… Verdejo

Posted by Joelle Thomson on

What makes Verdejo a great white wine when it was unknown 40 years ago?

This great white grape was virtually unheard of, even in its homeland of Rueda DO in northern central Spain. Until… Marques de Riscal arrived in the region from Rioja, with the aim of highlighting Rueda’s potential for top shelf white wines made from the Verdejo grape. That was back in the 1970s. Prior to that, the Palomino grape was the best known white of the Rueda region. It was best known as the sole ingredient in dry sherries from the south of Spain and was nothing to write home about in Rueda.

Like many European winemaking countries, Spain has been going through a massive wine revolution from the vineyard to the winery, over the past 40 years. It’s still happening. Technology such as stainless steel has allowed temperature controlled fermentation to transform the way many whites were previously made in the hot dusty heartland of Spain’s arid interior.

The last 20 years have also seen enormous changes in Spain’s winemaking methods where modern technology has transformed not only the red grapes of this historically significant winemaking country, but also its unique, native whites, such as Verdejo.

Spain is third only to Italy and France when it comes to its number of indigenous grape varieties. This dry southern European country has diversity to burn with 84 documented native grapes.

These grapes include many that we know and love – Tempranillo and Garnacha, for instance – and others that we have never even heard of.

Anyone for a glass of Zamarrica?

How about a Trepat?

Or a Verdil?

Or, perhaps, a Verdejo?

The modernisation of Verdejo has excited more winemakers and critics than any other white Spanish grape today.


What it tastes like

“High quality, aromatic, rich, nutty and dry.” – Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz


About Verdejo

Verdejo is the great white of Rueda (pronounced “roo-ay-da”) in northern central Spain.

The name Verdejo (most easily pronounced “ver-dec-oh”) comes from the colour of the grapes – verde means green.

It is Spain’s fifth most planted white wine grape – there are 11,352 hectares (28,051 acres) and it makes up 10% of the Castilla y Leon vineyard area.

DNA profiling shows that Verdejo is related to Godello from north West Spain and also to Albillo de Nava from Rueda, which is also where it comes from.

Verdejo at Regional Wines & Spirits

Try this…

The 2017 Rodriguez Basa at $19.99 is one of our best value whites in store and is also one of the freshest tasting European whites for drinking this summer.

It was first made in 1996 by Spanish winemaker Telmo Rodriguez, who was on a mission to show the world that Spain is a white wine producing country - as well as a red one.

The result is "Basa" - a 92% blend of Verdejo with 8% Viura – a great summer white with seafood.


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