After all, this white grape has been grown on the high elevation plains in Spain for over ten centuries, and over 90% of the region is planted in Verdejo, up from 50% in 1980. Cold long winters with frequent late frosts followed by short hot dry summers with cool nights mean the roots dive deep to find moisture, the grapes have acidity, yet plentiful sun means they ripen well. While considered a Mediterranean climate zone due to its latitude just 90 miles northwest of Madrid and south of Burgos, the higher altitudes brings continental influences, and in fact, Marqués de Cáceres says their Verdejo grows in a distinctly continental area.
In our estimation, Marqués de Cáceres is synonymous with affordable, high quality wine like this Verdejo from Rueda or last month’s Marqués de Cáceres Cava from Catalonia.
For five generations, Enrique Forner and his family farmed in La Rioja, but because of the Spanish Civil War, for thirty years he lived in France where he learned French winemaking techniques. On his return in 1970, he founded Marqués de Cáceres, Unión Vitivinícola, S.A. The name Marqués de Cáceres came from a family friend, D. Forner Vicente Noguera Espinosa de los Monteros, Marqués de Cáceres and Grande de España which was granted by the King of Spain centuries ago for outstanding services to the Crown in the war of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. D. Juan Noguera, the current Marqués de Cáceres, maintains a connection to the winery today.
While there may be a long history of Verdejo in Rueda as well as to the name Marqués de Cáceres, the winery has changed with the times:
- first with Enrique Forner bringing French winemaking techniques to Spain,
- second with his daughter Cristina bringing their wines to over 140 countries in the world starting in 1983, and as President since 2007 running the business,
- and third by hiring woman winemaker Carmen Blanco in 2014 to make their Verdejo in Rueda.
What a great winery to celebrate Women in Wine for Women’s History Month!
But what to pair with this wine?
After checking out this chart, we were inspired to pair this Marqués de Cáceres Verdejo from Rueda with Barbacoa tacos:
I really had my doubts about pairing something as heavy, flavorful, and rich as barbacoa with a white wine but figured we’d give it a try based on the recommendation in the chart. We also made fish tacos as a back up. How could we go too wrong? I mean we are talking TACOS here! But the fish tacos tasted bland after the barbacoa which went so well.
We also paired the barbacoa with a French rose, also suggested in the chart above. Read about the rose pairing here; it was fabulous but this Verdejo was outrageously good! From the chart we also sampled the Catalonia Cava from Marques de Caceres here but we didn’t pair it this time with fish tacos, but a kale Spanish Chorizo bean stew. While I plan to pair Chenin Blanc with Al Pastor possibly in April or May or for Chenin Blanc Day in June, we paired the Lievland from above with traditional South African dishes here.
The #WorldWineTravel group continues its virtual exploration of Spain with a focus on Castilla y León including Ribera del Duero, Rueda, and Toro co-hosted by Allison from ADVineTURES and Lynn from Savor the Harvest Read the invitation with all the details here. Scroll down for related articles from the #WorldWineTravel participants on this month’s theme of “Castilla y Leon – Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Toro.”
2019 Marques de Caceres Verdejo Rueda
Harvest happens at night to keep the grapes grown around the winery cool. While time is spent on the lees, no oak is used. I think it’s the richness of the lees which made the wine work so well with the barbacoa.
Color: Pale yellow, nice clarity, light bounces.
Nose: Beachy nose, sea grass, sea foam, sea spray, foggy misty beach; there is a salinity to the nose plus lime and grapefruit. John: “Oh my god did you smell this thing, musty, like the barn got wet by the rain. Maybe even the diesel tractor in the barn.”
Palate: Grassy, oxalis, vitamin c, lime, mouthwatering acidity. As the wine warms in the glass, there is more character. So much salinity and acidity.
Pairing: Loves the salinity and the richness of the oyster, bringing out a beautiful melon characteristic in the mouth. Very nice with white anchovies on a plain cracker; anchovies are usually such a strong rich flavor on their own, but with the wine they are rich, mellow, and lovely. So many aromas that were not present before become available with the wine. With the barbacoa, the wine has white stone fruit, and almonds, amaretto.
Who would have thought that a white wine would be so wonderful with a spicy meat meal, but this works so wonderfully together.
Fantastic spices in the food is wonderful with the wine.
Want to learn more about Castilla y León including Ribera del Duero, Rueda, and Toro? Here’s the invite from hosts Allison from ADVineTURES and Lynn from Savor the Harvest here. Check out articles from the #WorldWineTravel participants on this month’s theme of “Castilla y Leon – Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Toro”:
- Allison of AdVINEtures declares Ribera del Duero: Spain’s Rising Star.
- Co-host Lynn of Savor the Harvest introduces us to Unconventional in Castilla y Leon – Ismael Gozalo and MicroBio Wines.
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla pairs Patatas a lo Pobre + Losada Bierzo 2017.
- Steve of Children of the Grape explores Hemingway and the Plains of Spain.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm explains why Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial is indeed a Special Selection.
- Terri at Our Good Life is Exploring Castilla y Leon Through Wine and Food.
- David at Cooking Chat tempts us with his Steak Picado Recipe with Ribera del Duero Wine.
- Jeff of Food Wine Click! reveals A Different Take on Castilla y Leon.
- Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog discusses Mesmerizing Mencia – The Star Grape of Bierzo; 2018 Raúl Pérez Ultreia St-Jacques.
- Lisa The Wine Chef reveals Castilla y Leon, Home of Spain’s Best Kept Secret: Wine, Dine and Stay in an Luxe 12th Century Abbey Overlooking World-Class Vineyards.
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares Rueda and Verdejo Just Keep Rolling with the #1 White Wine in Spain!
- Nicole at Somm’s Table tells us about A Phenomenal Feast at Emilio Moro.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass discusses Rueda Verdejo – A Crisp White Alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
- Susannah at Avvinare is Exploring Rueda’s Signature Grape, Verdejo.
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares Dominio del Pidio Albillo: Tasting an Unusual Spanish White Wine in Miami.
- Here at Wine Predator we post about how Cristina Forner Leads Marques de Cacerés
Join our twitter chat on the topic of “Castilla y Leon – Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Toro” on Saturday March 27 at 8am Pacific. Here’s the discussion questions and timing, but you can follow the chat anytime by checking out the hashtag #worldwinetravel:
- 8:00 am Pacific Q1 Welcome to the #worldwinetravel virtual visit of Castilla y Leon, home to Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Toro. Where are you tweeting from? Introduce yourself, share a link to your blog. Visitors too.
- 8:05 am Q2 We’re continuing our deep dive into Spain in 2021. What did you know about Castilla y Leon prior to our event? #worldwinetravel
- 8:10am Q3 While we focused on Rueda, Ribera del Duero and Toro, did you discover another region or area in your research? #worldwinetravel
- 8:15am Q4 Tell us about the wine you’re highlighting today #worldwinetravel
- 8:20 am Q5 Did you try any wines made from a grape other than Tempranillo? #worldwinetravel
- 8:25 am Q6 What other grape does Verdejo remind you of? (for us it’s Sauvignon Blanc) #worldwinetravel
- 8:30 am Q7 Did you pair your wine w/ food? (Tell us whether you’d recommend or try something different) #worldwinetravel
- 8:35am Q8 The vineyards of the region are full of the large stones similar to those found in Chateauneuf du Pape. Did you find any similarities in the styles of the resulting wines? #worldwinetravel
- 8:40am Q9 During phylloxera, the Bordelais bought Tempranillo from Northern Spain to make their wines. Did your wine remind you of Bordeaux and can you see why they chose to get these grapes as opposed to from any other region? #worldwinetravel
- 8:45am Q10 What was the big surprise for you with respect to this area’s history, winemaking, the wine you focused on? #worldwinetravel
- 8:50am Q11 Open comment time, any thoughts or discoveries you’d like to share? #worldwinetravel
- 8:55am Thanks for joining our #worldwinetravel chat on Castilla y Leon. Join us next month as we explore Rias Baixas…Salud!