Menade, Rueda Verdejo 2014, Spain
Rueda is a region at considerable elevation (around 700 metres in altitude) that lies to the north and west of Madrid in Spain. That elevation is one of the reasons this region can produce crisp white wines such as this, especially from its signature grape variety, Verdejo, even although temperatures can soar in the summer - not normally the conditions for wine grapes to retain the acidity that is so vital in producing 'balanced' wines that have juicy freshness as well as ripe fruit.
The Verdejo grape can have very similar properties to Sauvignon Blanc, and whilst some Rueda producers aim to mimic the full-on, nettle, cat's pee and elderflower pungency of some Sauvingons from regions like Marlborough in New Zealand, the organic estate of Menade makes a version that is full of vibrant fruitiness, but a touch more restrained than some and just beautifully balanced. It has abundant fruit and is highly drinkable, but it has a slightly more serious and food-friendly side too.
Watch the video for my review, full information and food-matching suggestions. It costs £10.50 from the online organic specialist, Vintage Roots.