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Naia 2006 Rueda

I love this wine and I wish I had written about it before I drank most of it. It is one of the brands from Jorge Ordonez a major importer of Spanish wine that I cannot believe does not have a website. Not under his name nor under his company, Fine Estates from Spain. He was recently featured at the Nantucket Wine Festival in May.

Naia is 100 percent verdejo, from the Rueda DO in Spain. The region follows the Duero River and is west of Ribera del Duero on the way to Portugal. The Rueda appellation permits verdejo and sauvignon blanc. More from Jancis after the jump.

On Rueda:

For much of the 20th century, the local verdejo grape was Rueda’s sleeping beauty. It was awoken in the 1970s, when Bodegas Marqués de Riscal of Rioja recognized the area’s potential for dry white wine and sold a fresh Rueda white alongside its Rioja reds. Rueda was awarded DO status in 1980 and the local Consejo Regulador succeeded in relaunching the native variety of which there were nearly three times as much as of Palomino in the mid 2000s, a radical reversal of the previous situation. … modern Rueda is a light, fruity, dry white wine. It may be made from a blend of viura (macabeo) and verdejo, the latter accounting for at least 50 per cent of the blend, or it may be a sauvignon blanc varietal. Rueda Superior must contain at least 85 per cent verdejo and, as more farmers convert their vineyards, there are ever more varietal wines. Sauvignon Blanc was introduced by Marqués de Riscal in the early 1980s. Some fine, elegant wines have resulted, including one from one of the Lurton family of Bordeaux.

Tempranillo produces some typically firm red wine in the zone. In 2002, red wines were admitted in the Rueda DO, although some white wine producers were still battling in court in 2005 to return it to white wine-only status.

On verdejo:

characterful grape grown on a total of 6,000 ha/15,000 acres of Spanish vineyard in 2004 with a distinctive blue-green bloom that is the Spanish rueda region‚s pride and joy (and has staved off a challenge for primacy from imported sauvignon blanc, with which it is often blended). dna profiling at Madrid showed it is a synonym of planta fina from Valencia in southern Spain, but although the vine looks quite similar to the Verdelho of Madeira and the Azores, their DNAs are distinct. Wines produced are aromatic, herbaceous (somewhat reminiscent of laurel), but with great substance and extract, capable of ageing well into an almost nutty character.

One of the best things about this wine is the price. It should retail for around $13. It’s got a smoky nose, with orange marmalade and white pepper behind it. Bright acid holds up the rich citrus, stone fruit flavors with some of that nuttiness, and its got length on the finish and palate.

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