The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
2012 Bodegas Angel Rodriguez “Martinsancho”, Rueda Verdejo, Spain
The Verdejo grape has been cultivated in Rueda and the northwestern regions of Spain since the 11th century, though it was relatively obscure until the late 20th century. It is believed that the grape was brought to Spain from North Africa by the mozárabes. It is now the primary grape of many of Spain’s best white wines.
Angel Rodriguez is considered to be the best producers of Verdejo, and is credited with reviving this grape from centuries of obscurity in Rueda. In the 1970s, the Martinsancho vineyard was planted with cuttings of vines dating back to the 1700s (the estate was founded in 1784); many subsequently planted vineyards in the region began with cuttings from the Martinsancho site.
This is an exceptional wine in that it is utterly enjoyable now, and is one of the rare white wines that critics believe will age well for several years. Aromas of passion fruit and guava are enticing. The Verdejo grape is high in glycerol, giving this wine a rich, silky, focused mouthfeel despite the high acidity. The guava flavor carries through with a strong mineral backbone and hints of green almonds and a bit of salinity. Another thing that makes this particular wine exceptional is its ability to pair well with foods that are typically considered a bit more “challenging” – for instance roasted Brussels sprouts with tangy lemon dressing – It also delicious with duck confit, Spanish tortilla, and full-flavored seafood dishes (squid ink paella, anyone?).
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