About This Wine
There is only a single wine produced here; less than 2000 cases of a Verdejo (100%) that takes its name from a 17th century vineyard or majuelo called Martínsancho. The oldest vines in this 'museum' vineyard are pushing 200 years old and are the oldest Verdejo in the world. If you're wondering, Verdejo is an ancient, indigenous variety to Rueda and has nothing to do with Verdello. The original, ancient Martínsancho plot was expanded in the 1970's using massale cuttings from the ancient plot.
The Martínsancho vineyard is something to behold; all old bush grown vines rooted in ancient alluvial gravels some 30 metres deep. It is managed organically, un-irrigated and cropped at very low levels. Along with South Tyrol, Rueda is Europe's highest vineyard. Up here in the Rueda tablelands, the harsh, continental climate and altitude ensure small crops of juicy, thick-skinned fruit. The cellars here, unusual for Spain, are underground, and the grapes are slow pressed into two huge glass-lined tanks where the juice ferments naturally before being transferred, via gravity, to the underground cellars for an undisturbed élevage in the huge, century old 5,000-litre oak botas. These cellars are extremely cold (they hold at 10 degree C) and this enables the Rodríguez clan to avoid sulphur during winemaking while the wine matures slowly on its lees.
This wine is always juicy and textural, with a fresh racy mouthfeel and the kind of palate-awakening precision that belies its modest price tag. Vintage 2017 furthers the cause with Bosc pear, pulpy stonefruit, bay leaf and complex mineral notes. There's a lovely juicy texture leading to a sappy, zesty, stoney close. Totally unique and 100% authentic, this is for us the benchmark Rueda and, at this price, is almost too good to be true.
Wines of Spain
With 2.9 million acres of land planted in wine grapes, Spain is the most widely planted wine producing nation and second largest producer in the world. Many styles of wine are produced in the country most of which are based on native grape varietals.
The two most famous regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero for their Tempranillo production. Rioja Tempranillo (the classic) will be lighter and fresher with red fruit flavours as compared to those from Ribera del Duero that are often deep purple, higher in alcohol with more tannins and intense black fruit character. Rioja is also known for producing Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from the indigenous Viura varietal.
In the Catalonia region, Spain is recognized for making a sparkling wine in the traditional method but using native grape varieties. This is called Cava. Priorat, a subregion within Catalonia specializes in making still red blends of Garnacha, Carignan and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in a bold and full-bodied style. Together with Rioja, wines from Priorat have achieved DOCa/DOQ status signifying their quality.
Sherry is Spain’s famous fortified wine which can either be completely dry, lusciously sweet or somewhere in between. This is made in the southern region of Jerez.
Other notable Spanish wine styles include: Monastrell (AKA. Mataro/Mourvèdre), produced in the Jumilla region and refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo from north western Galacia.
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