- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bodegas Pedro Escudero, Valdelainos Verdejo, Rueda, Spain, 2008, $14

One of the most exciting recent developments in the world of wine has been the emergence of riveting whites from regions previously considered too hot to produce high-quality white wines. Particularly in southern Europe, places thought suitable only for cheap, coarse wines are now yielding some thrilling, modern whites. Rueda in central Spain is perhaps the best example.

Long home to rustic fortified wines, Rueda today is producing many crisp, clean and, above all, refreshing dry whites. Credit the rise in quality to improved winemaking, especially the use of temperature-controlled fermentation tanks, and a revived interest in native grape varieties.

Usually made with verdejo or viura, the best examples taste truly compelling. They also tend to offer excellent value, as Rueda has not yet been discovered by the international market. Marked by bright grapefruit and stone fruit flavors, redolent of spring flowers, this Valdelainos is 100 percent verdejo. Fresh and vibrant, it’s an ideal spring and summer choice. Delicious on its own, it should pair nicely with chilled cucumber or asparagus soup, as well as all sorts of shellfish. Not a wine to keep long-term, it will be at its best when youthful, so drink it this year. (Imported by Grapes of Spain)

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