It´s a well-known fact that I like a good Rueda. In fact, to my mind, all Ruedas are good – greenish white, crisp, young, fruity and smooth.
Each has its own matiz (overtone, nuance, subtlety), a little more to my liking or a little less.
But a perfectly adequate and enjoyable Rueda can be had for just under two euros a bottle at any Spanish supermarket.
As readers know, I´ve just been to Scotland where you have to be an heiress, at the very least, to purchase wine on a regular basis.
So I bought only one bottle of wine for my own consumption during the five days I was in Glasgow. It was, of course, “pishin´doon” at the time and my cousin had a train to catch so we just rushed into a mini-market and I picked up the first bottle of Spanish white I found – there was very little to choose from.
Two shocks were in store for me.
One: The label on the “back” of the bottle was in English, provoking a ripple of cultural aversion throughout my body.
Two: There was a price tag of 6.49. Pounds! What this provoked in my system might better be left unsaid, though for those of you who require definitions, the terms “Wall Street” and “Crash” came to mind.
So I got back through the rain to my hotel, cadged a big wine glass from the friendly bar staff and worried about not having a corkscrew.
I needn´t have bothered. This was a screwtop wine, as easy to open as a bottle of Irn Bru. And on a first quaff, it was patently obvious it had been Made From Girders too. Rusty ones.
Though soft on the palate on the first sip and clean on swallowing, when it hit the “spot” it was full-on, rust-producing, physiognomy-altering acid!
At the mini-market checkout, I´d had misgivings about the ” exuberant lemon gooseberry character” of this wine. I should have trusted my instincts. While many Spanish wines have grosella (berry) tones, combined with lemon this La Casa de Sitios de Burgos brew was more like fregasuelos (floor-cleaner) than fine wine.
After a couple of scungy sips, I wondered what IS this stuff? Only then, with the offending bottle by the scruff of the neck, did I realise it was supposed to be a Rueda. Given the hurry, I´d failed to notice that this wine, La Casa de Sitios de Burgos, bore my beloved Rueda logo. I couldn´t believe it.
So, Glaswegians and other lovers of white wine – avoid this costly Made in Spain from Girders liquid unless you prefer to pay more for your toilet sloonger. It´s not representative of Rueda wine and is doing a huge disservice to Spanish wine as a whole. It´s so unpleasant it´s not so much oxidised as iron oxide en estado puro. Quite frankly, I don´t know how it remains on sale – anywhere.
My advice is that you spend a quid on Scotland´s other national drink, the cheap, unpretentious and infinitely more enjoyable, Irn Bru and keep your cash for a Spanish wine that´s truly worth the money. For example, try Hipercor´s €1.75 El Paje, 2011, as fruity and fresh a verdejo you´re ever likely to get at the price.