White wines are too often treated like the unloved stepchildren of Spanish winemaking. The conventional wisdom says they don’t offer the complexity, power or subtlety of the finest of their red brethren. But as is so often the case, the conventional wisdom is wrong — and it’s the innovative vision of Didier Belondrade that helps prove the point. The inspired Rueda produced by Belondrade offers a remarkably profound experience in the glass: crisp but rich, with depth and a sublime balance of fruit, oak and acidity. Here is everything the Verdejo grape was meant to be.
“We consistently do pioneer work,” says Didier, a gentleman farmer and elegant man who favors jaunty pocket-square handkerchiefs with jackets. The big bang of Didier’s revolution was his insistence on fermenting and aging his wine in French oak barrels. Seduced by the potential of Verdejo and the climate and soil of Rueda, he brought the quintessentially Burgundy techniques of barrel fermentation and aging to the region for the first time in the 1990s. This is what has elevated Rueda to new heights.
For Didier, the French concept of “terroir” reigns supreme: The character of a wine, he believes, should always reflect the address of its creation. Marta Baquerizo, the winemaker at Belondrade, puts it this way: “Our wines are an expression of our soils and the Verdejo grape along with Didier’s personal interpretation and touch.”
Learn more about Belondrade here.