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Drink to summer with a top-value Spanish wine

Wine columnist Edward Deitch recommends an affordable and elegant white.
/ Source: TODAY

I have to admit that I am always a bit hesitant to open inexpensive wines from big producers, fearing dull and generic wines that are little more than drinkable, which is probably why it took me a few weeks to get to the 2006 Rueda from Spain’s Marqués de Riscal winery after it arrived for review.

Now that I’ve had a taste, I can report that it would be hard to find a more easy-to-drink and satisfying white wine for $8 or so for your summer enjoyment. Now, before we get into the details, let’s take a minute to decipher the label on this top-value wine.

It takes its name from the Rueda region of central Spain, where Marqués de Riscal planted a flag in the early 1970s to produce fresh and crisp white wines from the local verdejo grape.  Marqués de Riscal was (and is) a famous old winery in the Rioja region and his known for the reds it makes there.

The white Rueda is mostly verdejo with a small amount of viura, another local grape, and it would be nice if these varieties appeared on the label, or perhaps the back label, to help people understand what they are drinking.

In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed sipping the Rueda while cooking dinner the other night and found it an elegant and cost-effective white that could be served at just about any party or gathering. In truth, I thought it was a more expensive wine when I tasted it and didn’t realize the low price until I found it at my neighborhood wine store.

With its floral aromas and notes of apple, pear, peach and lemon, it has good complexity and enough acidity for pairing with lighter foods like broiled fish, shellfish and chicken.

I’m going to make it a point to bring a bottle or two along for an upcoming grilled fish dinner with friends on the beach.

Edward Deitch's wine column appears Wednesdays. He is the recipient of the 2007 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Best Multimedia Writing.  He welcomes comments from readers. Write to him at