TASTING NOTE: 2011 Arindo Rueda Verdejo
Region: Rueda, Spain
Price: $13.99 at Total Wine
Sight: pale daffodil yellow
Smell: lemon drop, pineapple, piña colada, flowers
Taste: pineapple, wet rock, green and white Smarties, flowers, mango, medium-bodied
Overall: What a success. Out of 8,000 different wines in the store where I work, this is consistently one of my top go-to recommendations for a winning bottle of white wine. Verdejo is a grape out of Spain—a lesser-known, cheerful, spring-and-summer white; one that could play the adorable little sister to the opulent, languid whites of the French Rhône. Citrusy and tropical, but not so zesty as a Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo tends to be a little fuller, slightly rounded, with only a hum of minerality.
Arindo smells like a vase of summer florals, candied lemon, and piña colada. On the palate, a wave of pineapple rolls through, steeped with daisies and lime candy. Stony minerality adds some shading and lends to a clean finish, which is basically a sun-kissed meadow of wildflowers, a hint of tart candy, and a touch of mango. The most incredible thing about this wine in its entirety is the balance. There are no sharp edges or jarring soprano notes; in fact, I would describe this wine as an alto. It sits in the same warm range as a cello. Not too deep or heavy, but still somewhat low.
As an added bonus, the rich, deep-set tropical fruits combined with the just-enough acidity of a mere suggestion of citrus actually make this wine a great partner to some surprising foods. Foods like bacon burgers, pizza, or pastas in red sauce that you might associate with red wine may actually be a spectacular companion for your Verdejo. Again I say, do not underestimate the white wine. Try it for yourself!