A return to the authentic verdejo at Finca Montepedroso

The prestigious British magazine “Decanter” commented in its April 2023 issue that, in order to be considered one of the most important wine regions in the world, three fundamental requirements must be met: to offer wines of the highest quality, consistency vintage after vintage and, perhaps the most remarkable and difficult to achieve, a clear distinctive character.  In the case of Rueda, for the English publication, all three parameters were present.

The quality of its wines is something that was already talked about in the fifteenth century, not in vain the author Hugh Johnson, in his work History of Wine, tells how the wines of the “Tierra de Medina” (origin of the current wines of Rueda), given its prestige, were protected by an ordinance in the time of Isabel La Católica. For 200 years, the wines of this region experienced a period of splendor linked to the growth experienced by the nearby towns of Valladolid and Medina del Campo.

How were these wines praised by the writers of the Spanish Golden Age?

They were wines with a high alcoholic content, due to their method of elaboration by “asoleo”, that is, the freshly harvested bunches were left in the sun, so that the grapes would dehydrate and thus concentrate their aromas, as well as proportionally increasing their sugar content and, therefore, their alcoholic content. The wines were also subjected to long oxidative aging.

Even back then, the region’s main grape was Verdejo, cultivated since the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and despite its fame, its extension has always been confined to this very limited area. Its origin is located in North Africa, and it would be the Mozarabs who brought them, probably through the Silver Route. Its etymological origin is clearer, since it comes from the green color of its berries. Recent DNA analysis has shown that it is related to the Godello variety, typical of Galicia, which explains why this variety is called Verdelho in Portugal.

Verdejo has compact clusters of small to medium size, with thin-skinned grapes and a characteristic bluish-green bloom. Among its qualities is its resistance to drought, as well as its adaptation to clay soils that are not very fertile; on the other hand, it is very sensitive to diseases such as powdery mildew.

The moment of change

Systemic changes in general, and in the world of wine in particular, are often difficult to date; they are long processes over time and their origin is often unclear. This is not the case, here we know when, what and how it happened. Until the last decades of the 20th century, Rueda wines followed the tradition of oxidative aging wines and, riding on the success of sherry wines from Jerez, many of its vineyards were planted with the Palomino variety. Everything changed in 1971, when Francisco Hurtado de Amézaga, from Marqués de Riscal winery, with origins in La Rioja, decided to make a white wine and searched the Peninsula for the best possible location, finally deciding on the Rueda area. This marked the beginning of an era in which the Verdejo grape regained prominence, although in part shared with Sauvignon Blanc, and also brought new winemaking methods to the region, such as fermentation in stainless steel tanks. As a result of this drive, a few years later, in 1980, the Rueda Denomination of Origin was created, the first for wines from Castilla y León.

Its great commercial success, due to its good location between Galicia and Madrid, and the choice among consumers as aromatic and easy to drink wines, meant that quantity sometimes took precedence over quality. The aim was to make wines to the public’s taste, rather than wines that were a reflection of their terroir, as well as faithful exponents of the variety used. The selected yeasts marked the typology of the wines, distinguishing themselves from the characteristics of the variety. This made them more homogeneous and less representative than they had been so far.

Finca Montepedroso: the road to excellence and a change of direction

From Familia Martínez Bujanda when, ten years ago, we decided to establish ourselves in Rueda, it was always clear to us, verdejo, terroir and a return to the origins, were the way forward. Undoubtedly, if there is one thing that has characterized us, it is our commitment to producing estate wines. In this case, we saw the suitability of a perfect estate, Finca Montepedroso, in the very town of Rueda, in the heart of the D.O., and we started working to recover the authentic verdejo of which we are so proud today.

Although the Denomination of Origin also admits the white varieties sauvignon blanc, viura, palomino fino, viognier and chardonnay, at Finca Montepedroso we only produce white wines. 100% Verdejo. In fact, we only offer two wines, where we combine all our efforts to offer you something unique with excellence as our flag. Finca Montepedroso Verdejo and Montepedroso Enoteca.

In the 1930s, the variety that everyone wanted was palomino (Jerez), in the 1950s, that role was played by viura (Rioja) and in the 1970s by sauvignon blanc, when foreign varieties were considered “improvers”. It was necessary to recover the qualities of Verdejo as a variety capable of producing world-class wines.

If at the beginning of this article, we commented on the characteristics that a wine region must have to be considered among the best in the world, we could also extrapolate this to its wines. Among these characteristics, we could mention the aromatic complexity, its aging capacity and perfect evolution over the years, as well as its durability in the mouth. All of them are present in our wines. That is why, at Finca Montepedroso, we offer within our varied wine tourism options, the possibility of choosing which three old vintages you would like to taste, anunforgettable experience   so that you can see for yourselves the best version of the authentic Verdejo.

At Finca Montepedroso we know that we are on the right track, firstly by showing the origin of our wines, in a vineyard worthy of being part of the association of Grandes Pagos de España, and on the other hand, by allowing our wines to pass the test of the greatest and most impartial of critics, Time.

We recommend that you try them with all kinds of grilled and baked fish, such as turbot, sea bream, or hake. It also goes great with rice dishes such as caldero and a banda. As with pasta au gratin. Not to mention grilled white meats. 

Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy them. In this link we give you all the facilities to take them home, you will not regret it. 

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