Martinsancho Verdejo 2015
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 2015 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.
In a mixed or straight case: $28.49