Research for my book never tasted so good. My heroine, who happens to be a wine lover (imagine that), is perusing her collection, looking for a white to accompany fettuccine with béchamel sauce. She reflects upon the trip she and her husband took to Spain for their fifth anniversary and decides on a bottle they brought back from the Rueda DO. Now, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t try the wine my character is so fond of? 

I selected the 2013 Arindo: 100% verdejo grapes from the Rueda region west of Segovia, Spain.

The Rueda DO primarily produces verdejo, viura and sauvignon blanc on the white side and tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, garnacha and merlot on the red. Rueda seems to be ostracized as the country cousin of Spanish wines. The region’s climate is no fairy tale for wine production: the summers are long and hot, the winters are quite cold. During seasonal transition there is risk of temperature extremes and therefore the possibility for frosts. As well, there are seldom drought conditions, meaning the grapes don’t have to fight very hard for water, and that fight typically makes for a better grape. Nonetheless, the wines I’ve tried from Rueda have been quite good.

Verdejo in particular has been grown in northern Spain and the Rueda region since the 11th century. Citrus flavor is characteristic of verdejo and it is a safe pairing for seafood. If you enjoy sauvignon blanc, you should enjoy this. Verdejo is light and dry without being acidic, and has mild fruit flavors, but nothing heavy or syrupy.

The Arindo is produced by Gil Family Estates. The verdejo grapes are grown in sandy, pebbly soil, harvested by hand and then fermented in stainless steel.

On the nose, the Arindo has light, very light, aromas of melon and, honestly, mineral water. You may ask: Does mineral water have an aroma? Exactly.

On the palate it is gracious and delicate with flavors of honey, citrus and green apple. Think of the fruit flavors that come through in an infused water—they are there, but so subtle. This is a dry wine, but still buttery and has a smooth finish. To prove its versatility, I paired it with a grilled beef filet, roasted sweet potatoes and garlic and seared asparagus.

This is a great summer wine. It pairs well with even a heavy (see above) meal, but is light enough for enjoying on its own on a very warm day. And, at $11, it’s a steal. 

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