Glendale's Tasting Table... and Rueda, Home to Spain's Verdejo White Grape Varietal
Every Thursday, 12 Angelenos have the opportunity to pull up a chair at the Tasting Table, presented by Rosso Wine Shop, in conjunction with next door neighbor Bistro Verdu. Guests mingle around the bistro’s Chef’s Table and enjoy a weekly themed 4-course menu paired with 3 unique wines. Jeff Zimmitti (guitarist-cum-wine-shop-owner) says, “The idea is to experiment with combinations of food and wine while keeping the price reasonable. We are looking to have fun and create a relaxed atmosphere of exploration.”
This week’s Tasting Table explores the delights of Spain. Seafood delicacies, traditional paella and saffron-poached pear with manchego cheese are a few mouthwatering highlights off the menu. Featured Spanish wines include a crisp white from Rueda, a well-balanced Ribera del Duero Tempranillo and a robust Navarra, which is a 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo blend. At only $40 per person (before tax and gratuity), it’s worth marking your calendars every week!
Thirsty for a little knowledge with that wine?
Highlighting the region of Rueda, and the Verdejo grape
Rueda lies northwest of Madrid and southwest of the mythical Ribera del Duero red wine region. Having suffered greatly during Moorish invastions during the 10th century, Spanish ruler Alfonso XI (ruler of the Castilla Y Leon region) declared that anyone working the land of Rueda would gain ownership of it, as a last effort to save the region from complete destruction. Soon, several monastic orders settled in the region and immediately began wine production. The native Verdejo grapes were used in making a sherry style wine, particularly adored by the Royal Courts.
Like other European wine regions, Rueda faced hardship during the first half of the 20th century. The wine industry withered during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. In 1971, Marques de Riscal (the famed Rioja winery) came to Rueda and the region came back to life. Revolutionized with new ideas and technology, Rueda is now known for delightfully fresh and fruity white wines (versus sherry) using the Verdejo varietal. Sauvignon Blanc (which blends sublimely with Verdejo) is now also grown in the region.
Today, Rueda is successfully producing affordably-priced whites which are often compared to French Sancerres and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Top Rueda wineries producers include: Marques de Riscal, Castilla la Vieja, Yllera and Aura.