The joys of drinking crisp, fresh, aromatic Rueda Blanco has been discovered with great zeal in recent years by the American consumer. Along with the wines of Rias Baixas, and particularly Albarino, these wines have become the “go-to” value choice for whites from Northern Spain.
We were quite impressed by the wines of Rey Santo, which are produced by the Bodega Javier Sanz. The estate was founded in the beginning of the 19th century by Sanz’s great-grandfather, Agustín Nanclares. It is located on the left bank of the Duero River in La Seca in the middle of the Castilla-León plateau at high elevations of 2,300 feet. The winery dedicates itself to the production of high quality wine from meticulously cared for vineyards, most of which were planted over 50 years ago.
The estate covers 250 acres with soils comprised of small stones and sand on the surface for about 7-8 meters, followed by a layer of clay and then a subsoil of limestone underneath. This soil structure helps to impart a core of minerality to each of the wines. The emphasis of the estate’s holdings are older plantings of the indigenous Verdejo varietal, 138 acres in total. The rest of the vineyards are made of Viura (60 acre), Sauvignon Blanc (34 acres) and Tempranillo (24 acres). The vineyards are farmed sustainably.
For the Rey Santo wines, the grapes are harvested at night, so that they enter the winery at naturally cool temperatutes. The grapes receive a short skin maceration of 4 to 6 hours, and then are softly pressed in a pneumatic press. Fermentations occur in stainless steel vats at a temperature of 60- 65°F for a period of 3-4 weeks. The wine stays on the lees in tank until bottling.
The winery makes several cuvées of Rueda, starting with an easy-drinking, citrus-scented, and super-quaffable blend of Viura and Verdejo (50/50). The wine sports a lovely fish label proclaiming (loudly), “drink me with any kind of fish” or really with any fun-in-the-sun occasion!