Verdejo is a vigorous grape variety with small berries. As its name suggests (verde = green), wines made from this grape are greenish-yellow in colour. It has a pleasing acidity with notes of herbs, citrus and kiwi.
History of the Verdejo grape variety
The Verdejo grape originally came from North Africa, arriving in Castile back in the 11th century. From then on it was grown in the Spanish regions of Castile, D.O. Rueda and León. The grape gradually adapted to the rather barren, dry climate of these regions. Rueda is a famous white wine region in Spain sandwiched between the red wine regions of Ribera and Toro. Rueda was one of the first recognized protected designations of origin (DOP) for wine in Spain. Only a very small number of white wines are permitted here – including Sauvignon blanc and Verdejo.
What makes Verdejo wine special?
Verdejo is the classic grape variety for elegant white wines from Rueda. When vinified it yields aromatic, extract-rich wines with a fine fruit acidity. At one time Verdejo grapes were vinified using a special method involving oxidation. However, that was then. Today Verdejo wines are produced fresh and sold as young wines. However, one particular tradition is still used when harvesting Verdejo: because it is very sensitive to oxygen the grapes are picked at night to ensure better quality. The distinctive flavour of Verdejo wines arises from the good balance between fruity and austere notes.