A Wine Lover's Near-Weekly Guide To $15 Wines - Another Verdejo Signed Rueda, Spain

Published: 08th April 2015
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Today's two wines may well be our first made from the Verdejo grape. This white grape started in North Africa but came to Spain centuries ago. It is the signature grape of Rueda some 170 kilometers (about 100 miles) northwest of Madrid. Up until the 1970s these grapes were mostly transformed into Sherry-like highly oxidized wines that I prefer to ignore. Things have changed; for a fresher style these grapes are harvested in the relative cool of the night. I was unable to get any information about Bodegas Shaya on the web except for Spanish language videos showcasing a fine looking winery peppered with extensive discussions between Belinda Thomson, the winemaker, and Erique Busto, the co-owner. I stopped at two videos but there were more. The companion wine is another Rueda Verdejo costing a few dollars less.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Bodegas Shaya Verdejo 2009, 13.5% alcohol Rueda Denominacion de Origen about $11. (That's the web price, I paid more than half again.)

Let's start by quoting the marketing materials. "Tasting Note: The Verdejo grapes for the 2009 Shaya are sourced from both estate vineyards and local growers with vine age ranging from 75-112 years. The wine was barrel-fermented and aged on its lees. Medium straw-colored, it offers up an alluring aroma of baking spices, spring flowers, and peach. On the palate it has a creamy texture, vibrant acidity, and intense flavors leading to a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. It is a great value in dry, aromatic white wine that over-delivers in a big way. Score - 91. (Jay Miller, at the Robert Parker website, April 2010)." And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine offered light acidity. It was creamy, yet metallic. The initial meal featured commercial barbecued chicken. The Spaniard's acidity cut the grease and tasted of white peaches and a bit of cotton. It was long. When it accompanied a medley of zucchini and Portabello mushrooms the libation's acidity sharpened but was not overdone. I also noticed the presence of some citron. The fresh pineapple dessert darkened the drink almost to the point of being burnt. It was so long.

The centerpiece of my next meal was a delicious roasted salmon filet, marinated in sesame seeds and Agave sauce. The Verdejo was smoky and metallic. I found it dark for a white wine. And it was long. The side dish of okra, garlic, onions, and crushed tomatoes over quinoa provided the taste of caramel. The wine was oaky but not excessively. Dessert was Haagen-Dazs pralines and cream ice cream. In response this wine was still long but it was muted.

I began my final meal with relatively tasteless and definitely Wasabi-less Oriental rice crackers. But this Verdejo was almost ethereal, offering good citrus and acidity. Upon pairing alongside green beans and crushed tomatoes our Spanish friend offered great length. It was powerful and lemony. The other dish was a medley of broccoli, Portabello mushrooms, onions, and crushed tomatoes. In response this libation tasted of citrus with light acidity. It was round. Fresh strawberries almost gutted the drink, however, a smoky taste did remain. In response to fresh raspberries it was light but it was long.

Final verdict. This wine is definitely to buy again, alll the more so if you can get it at the web price. Even if I believed in numbers when rating wines I would never give it a 91. But I am planning to buy a bottle for my wine club.


Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but definitely prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. Visit his Italian wine website www.theitalianwineconnection.com .

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