2018 Monasterio De Palazuelos Verdejo, Rueda DO, Spain

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Originally a farmhouse established by Dominican Monks in the 17th century, the Gutiérrez family has owned and operated the winery for five generations. With nearly 4 centuries of winemaking at the site, the Gutiérrez family is committed to its historical roots, while keeping up with modern winemaking techniques and technology. For example, the Verdejo used for this wine is mechanically harvested overnight to help maintain the grapes’ aromatics. Verdejo is a highly aromatic varietal relatively unknown outside of Rueda. Do not, however, let its obscurity fool you: Verdejo makes intense, expressive, aromatic wine, with refreshing acidity and loads of fruit on the nose and palate.

The grapes are sourced from older vines, ranging from 20 to 55 years old. A common winemaking practice is to press the grapes with increasing levels of pressure. (The greater the pressure, the more juice can be extracted, but the added pressure can also release bitter phenolics from the skins and seeds.) Each pressing is called a fraction and its must has unique characteristics. This Verdejo is a blend of the first and second presses, with the first press adding freshness and aromatics, while the second press adds complexity and further phenolic compounds and body to the wine. Aromas of fennel, grapefruit, and a hint of licorice carry over from the nose to the palate. This wine is perfectly enjoyable on its own or can be paired with dishes from seafood to Asian food.

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