£12.50, The Daily Drinker
When you taste a good dry white Verdejo like this, with its citrus-peel snap, streaks of herb and peach, textural, almond nuttiness and suggestion of orange blossom, it makes you wonder why more growers aren't trying it out around the world, especially as it's relatively drought-resistant (although admittedly very susceptible to powdery mildew).
Perhaps the answer is simply that it's a white grape variety that is determinedly Spanish in its terroir allegiances and above all in its rootedness in the Rueda region, a DO in Castilla y León. Although Finca Menade's Verdejo Ecológico is labelled Vino de la Tierra (vins de pays), it comes from organic, sustainable vineyards just a kilometre west of the village of Rueda in the heart of the DO.
Among the keys to the character and quality of the wine are the selection of fruit, from particular parcels of vines aged 20-25 years growing at 700–800m asl in pebbly, clay-chalk soils; picking in three stages, each vinified separately with natural yeasts from the bloom of the grapes; a short period resting on lees; and the absence of oak – and indeed of Sauvignon Blanc, with which Verdejo is sometimes blended in Rueda. Both are superfluous here.
Conveniently, as it's wine suitable for vegans, it goes well with vegetables (use citrus, herbs or spices to soften the sweetness of sweet roast veg), salads, nuts and seeds. It's also very fish-friendly, particularly grilled, roast or fried fish with lemon, herbs or almonds, and including brandade (aka brandada de bacaloa) and tricky oily fish such as mackerel. Just make sure your mackerel is really, really fresh. 13.5%
Finca Menade Verdejo Ecológico 2020, Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León, Spain