Naiades: a serious Spanish white

Spain, like Portugal, is best known for its red wines. But it is exciting to see some serious Spanish whites emerging. Like this: a thrillingly complex expression of the Verdejo grape variety. It’s big, bold, but not overblown – and coming back to it after 5 days in the fridge, it is still beautifully focused and fresh.

Bodegas Naia ‘Naiades’ 2006 Rueda, Spain
14% alcohol. This varietal Verdejo comes from eight plots of old vines, many of which are over 100 years old and some of which predate phylloxera. It’s fermented and aged for eight months in new French oak. Deep yellow/gold colour. Intense, toasty, nutty, pungently fruity nose with citrus, pear and ripe peaches. The palate has a strongly savoury, spicy, mineral core with tangy citrus fruit and some peachy richness. Complex, bold and intense this has a bit of pithy bitterness, but it works well with the ripe fruit characters. A distinctive wine that probably needs a decade to reach maturity. It’s so good, you can forgive the inordinately heavy, deeply punted bottle. 94/100 (£19.99 Find Wine – www.findwine.co.uk)

5 comments to Naiades: a serious Spanish white

  • Andrew Halliwell

    Good to see Rueda making an appearance on your blog. I lived in Spain for a while and can’t understand why these lovely fresh wines aren’t better known outside of Spain. You can get some great stuff over there for about 5-9 euros – (the one Jamie’s commenting on here is atypically high end) and they’re often not too disimilar to Sauv Blanc. Rueda’s pretty close to Madrid, maybe the Spaniards just drink them all, so why bother to export..?

  • Andrew,
    I think you’ll find Rueda widely available. Every supermarket carries one or two and it’s rare to find an independent merchant without one. The only factor against it is that it can become a bit oily/waxy in warmer years and the freshness suffers. This happened to a large extent in 2009, but producers that avoided long skin contact were able to eliminate the problem

  • Mark

    I like Rueda too, tho not so much the ones the Sauvignon-wannabe tendency. Am a bit sceptical about oak with Verdejo.

  • As has been pointed out, this is an unusual example of Rueda, but I think that Rueda whites generally are really nice – fresh Sauvignon-like wines with a bit of thiol passionfruit richness. We see quite a few Ruedas in the UK.

  • Mark

    I heard from Spanish friends that the main reason many Ruedas are “Sauvignon-like” is because of the yeasts used in production.

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