In the late 1970’s, Rueda wine was a tasty, warm, smooth wine, with slightly fruity notes and a rustic touch.
As a luxury wine there was the Dorado, reminiscent of the generous white wines of the Golden Age, considered the official Court wine under the Catholic Monarchs.
The wine is renowned for its mellowness, and a Royal Decree of 1911 declared that the wine of Tierra de Medina was a special wine, “similar to the wine made in Jerez and Málaga”. The old Rueda wines were the first ones to be priced in direct proportion to their age. Most of the wines were sold young, even the Jerez wines, which, until the 18th century, left the port of Cádiz for England immediately after fermentation. Some 16th century documents make a distinction between trasañejo (very old) and añejo (more than one year) wines, whereas the new wine is called mosto (must)
In the 17th and 18th centuries, and during the Middle Ages, grapes overflowing with sugar and carrying powerful yeasts, were transported to the nearest winepresses by the “coritos”, workers who bore the grapes in sacks attached to their foreheads by means of leather straps.
Once the grapes reached the cellar, they went through hand-operated roller presses. Then, as they reached the press’ chute, gypsum sulphate was added.
The fruit stayed there for 24 hours and then went through a large press known as the Alaejos press, where the grape was drained for a period of 24 hours, thus achieving a very clear must.
Fermentations were long and cold, facilitated by the coolness of the deep cellars, 20 metres underground. In order to improve fermentation, gypsum was used and an interesting technique was employed consisting of beating the rings of the barrels with a wooden stick, so as to upset the carbonic balance.
The wine was clarified by adding clay or blood, usually bull or bullock’s blood. Its clarity and cleanliness were also checked by means of an interesting procedure, in which a chicken feather was used to block the tiny hole of the barrel. When the feather was withdrawn, a very fine stream came out, showing the level of clarification of the wine. T
The times have changed. Today, provenance and origin-related issues prevail
over alcoholic content and aging time.
Grapes are harvested when they are at just the right point of maturity, an important factor for winemaking. The mechanised grape harvesting process avoids the oxidation of the must, and a large part of the harvesting therefore takes place at night, with no sunlight to oxidise the must. The grapes enter the cellars at 10-15°C, as opposed to September’s daytime temperatures of 24-28°C.
Fermentation takes place in stainless steel containers fitted with temperature control devices, cold-treatment machines in some cases, and vacuum filters that clean the must without taking away the nutrients necessary for the yeasts. The wine is now clean and pale, having been filtered and having undergone quick cold decantations.
Three months later the wine has taken on a slightly yellowish colour, with a youthful, greenish hue, and has a fresh, fruity aroma and flavour. We now reach the crucial stage of bottling, Rueda Verdejo wine’s claim to fame: an unaged harvest wine, the result of a completely aseptic process and the implementation of state-of-the-art technology, with the Verdejo grape full of primary, powerful, elegant aromas.
Another example of these “new times”, and an attempt to provide the market with still another choice in the wide variety of Rueda wines, is the barrel fermentation carried out by some wine cellars in the D.O. Rueda, which produces well-structured wines with a strong personality, offering consumers a plethora of sensations thanks to a unique combination of technology and the savoir faire of our winemakers.
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47490 Rueda | Valladolid | Spain
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