Judges’ Favorite — 100-Year-Old Vine Rich Spanish White
This is easily one of the very best under-$20 white wines our expert judging panel has tasted this year — a huge endorsement considering our judges include a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier.
Verdejo from Rueda, is one of the hottest wine styles from Europe right now, and this one, made almost entirely from 100-year-old vines, sizzles with Sancerre-like juiciness and a bright citrus edge. Those ancient vines give the depth of flavor that compelled New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov to posit that wine from Rueda “fulfilled its obligation to be refreshing and inexpensive, and yet had real character.” At $13.99 — a Wine Access exclusive in the States — it captures some of the wide-eyed wonder that Rueda vino can evoke, with its whites of tremendous richness and vibrancy. Wildly popular wine in Europe — this 2016 Verdejo is a chance to lock into a case of a captivating weekday white.
But it’s those ancient vines that really make this wine a rarity, lending exceptional texture and concentration.
Century-old bush-trained vines soak in the Spanish sun, which can reach blisteringly hot temperatures by day. At this age, the grapes they eke out are miniscule, packed with complexity and flavor. At night, the mercury plunges, and the sharp diurnal temperature variation, in combination with the high-altitude plains where the vineyards sit, creates the wine’s scintillating acidity, which sings through on the finish.
Do as they do in Europe — serve it chilled as a mouthwatering aperitif, or paired with a half-dozen oysters and an oil-drizzled, garden-fresh salad.