Last month, the appellation of origin DO Rueda, visiting Hong Kong for the first time, invited local wine professionals and media representatives to a prestigious masterclass seminar followed by a media dinner, offering us a glimpse into winemaking in Rueda, Spain, which has been documented from as early as the 10th century.
Learning about Rueda was an intriguing experience as even our well-travelled friends have never come back with stories of this humble region filled with vineyards. Many of us are aware that the most popular white grape variety in Spain is Verdejo, but little did we know that Verdejo is native to the region of Rueda in Castilla y León. Characterised by beautiful tropical fruits and underlying citrus notes, the wines from this region are aromatic and full-bodied with acidity.
Sitting 750 metres above sea level, Rueda’s climate is cruel, being extremely cold in the winter and late spring and blisteringly hot in the summer. The harsh environment is perfect for Verdejo, especially when ample sunshine, low rainfall and high wind speed keep the vineyards dry and easy for organic viticulture. Plant roots are forced to dig deep through stony soil for water and nutrients given the dry climate, while the huge day–night discrepancy in temperature helps to balance the sweetness and acidity of the Verdejo grapes.
The refreshing whites, full of acidity and crispness, make a great option for Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc fans. To introduce an innovative twist, DO Rueda winemakers experimented with natural yeasts and cement egg-shaped fermenters while enforcing strict winemaking regulations to safeguard the quality of their products. Look out for DO Rueda white wines the next time you are having shellfish, fish dishes, salads, flavourful sauces, buttery dishes and Asian cuisine.
For more information on Rueda white wines, click here.