Rueda wines, Spain
Wines from Rueda
Rueda is a village that gives name to a large Appellation of Origin (D.O.) for white wines located near the capital of the Autonomous Comunity of Castile and Leon, so we mean Valladolid (population: 300,000. 190km heading northwest from Madrid). D.O. Rueda is the motherland of the famous white variety called ‘Verdejo’. By the way, this has nothing in common with the Portuguese ‘Verdelho’.
Rueda wines - history
The first archive about local wine production dates from the XI century, when King Alfonso VI offered reconquered land to new Christian settlers and monastic orders. The vinyard surface was even larger in XVIII century than is currently and the Verdejo wines were pretty successful due to the clarification process which depended on using local clay. Take into account that currently many white wines are clarified with bentonite, a very fine sort of clay with electrostatic properties to trap sediments and proteins.
At the very end of XIX century and the beginning of the XX, phylloxera plage attacked the vinyards and killed over two thirds of the vines, which had to be replanted by grafting onto resistant American rootstock. The Sandy soil areas protected one third fo the vines so this means that nowadays you can find very old prephylloxeric vinyards, specially around the highest zones such as the province of Segovia.
Terroir: Geography, Climate and Soils
Rueda wine region is located on the north plateau of the Iberian Peninsula, where the land is flat and high in altitude (for winegrowing) between 600 and 780 masl (1970 to 2560 ft). The Duero River is boundaring the north side of this wine region on its way towards Portugal.
The climate is continental as most of the inland Iberian Peninsula but the area gets some Atlantic maritime influences, therefore the chance of having a severe drought decreases but the risk of frost or hailstones is always present. The average rainfall is pretty low, by 400 mm per year (15.75 in) but on the other hand the vines get 2,700 hours of sunlight per year.
The near the river is the more alluvial with a high lime content soils. To further to the south the more sandy topsoil with a gravel and clay subsoil which has a good drainage.
Rueda wine region. Grape varietals
This wine region is very well-known because of its white wines so they grow basically white varieties: Verdejo, Macabeo (Viura) and Sauvignon Blanc. They can grow red varieties anyway such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Merlot and Tempranillo.
Rueda and Toro regions wine map