I think most people have now dismissed Rueda as a one stop shop for cheap whites and the occasional aspirational made Verdejo. I had, so it was with trepidation that I motored down to La Seca just east of the village of Rueda to meet Vidal and his sister Alicia on a tip off from a friend that these were some of the best white wines in Spain. Not just Rueda, but Spain. We visited every parcel of vines, most over 100 years old, all bush trained (the rest of Rueda is now given over to trellising for machine harvesting), each parcel a different make up of soil exposure and variety (Viura and Verdejo with a plot of Tinto Fina). Here standing in front of me was a man who treated his vineyards with the same reverence one expects to find in Burgundy.
But the wines. I confess I was expecting something good, I know these varieties, but I was still sceptical. The first wine, drawn from a 600 litre Damy barrel and coming from the Buena Vista vineyard, located in the north of the region by the river was a complete jaw dropper. And so it went, cuvée after cuvée, then the bottled wines (these are released after 4 years in bottle, so we are on 2011 now) and each one as magical as the next. Only 700 bottles of each finca are produced and each one fermented differently from the next.