Producer: Bodegas PradoRey
Rueda - nestled into the southwest corner of Valladolid, along the borders with Segovia and Ávila - has been producing wine since the eleventh century. Originally the Verdejo grape, which practically defines the region, was used to make an oxidized wine reminiscent of a fortified wine. In the late twentieth century, however, collaboration between interested parties from the Rioja region (notably Marqués de Riscal) and foreign oenological expertise (notably Émile Peynaud) resulted in a more approachable wine. Not oxidized, not fortified, just elegant and delectable. In recognition of its newly realized potential, Rueda wines made with at least 50% Verdejo were awarded Denominación de Origen status in 1980.
The Recorba white has paired Verdejo with the Viura grape, often known as Macabeo. Viura is used in whites all over Spain and southern France, and in fact tends to be the main grape in white Riojas. Here, the two blend together to form a vibrant, luscious specimen.
The wine is an even, limpid goldenrod color. Though a tad on the pale side, it is still deeper in hue than most whites. The aroma, at first, is an interesting combination of sweetness, tartness, and introversion. One can get a whiff of honeycrisp apples and canned peaches, but the notes are not bursting forth quite yet. The wine still needs some time to warm up and get ready for its big performance on the palate, which works out just fine because the tasting notes are indeed dynamic. The initial note is of sweet florals. The Rueda is strong now, confident, out of its shell. It offers the flavor of lychee with the crispness of apple. There is citrus around the edges, but where one would expect zest one gets instead a mystifying combination of florals and sweet fruit which glide about each other as they dance around the mouth. Obviously those two notes have some common denominator, but at least one taster is still left pondering just what it is. The wine is now strong and confident, but that is not to say talkative. Expressive, certainly, but in a poetic riddle sort of way. Normally such wines would be a bit on the thick side, but this white is medium-bodied, getting the job done without hammering anything home gratuitously. Thickness, really, would be out of character. Finally, the wine finishes with a note of white table grapes. It is confident as it goes down, but calm, almost mild. But only almost; perhaps the best way to describe it is pungent without even a hint of drama.
After breathing for twenty minutes, the Rueda has not changed altogether too much, just enough to befit a white. The nose has become much sweeter and more vibrant, emitting a delicious scent of apples dipped in honey; florals (mostly honeysuckle) and apples dominate the palate, whose personality has not changed at all; and golden apples have usurped the finish.
To the Moors, who brought Verdejo grapes to Spain from North Africa; to the monks and farmers of Rueda, who have upheld the local viticultural tradition for a millennium (and counting); to the oenologists, Spanish and foreign alike, who revolutionized the region some decades ago; and to Bodegas PradoRey, which has brilliantly blended the Verdejo and Viura grapes just so; to all, a great deal of gratitude is due, for each group was instrumental in bringing it about that today we may at our own leisure sit and enjoy a glass of this delightful white wine. ¡Salud!