There is a oxidative aging in wine beyond the Marco de Jerez, and there is also a stronghold of palomino fine grape, which has given life to these drinks from Cadiz, outside these Atlantic limits.

For this you have to put heading to Castilian lands, where the golden triangle of Rueda wine is distributed in La Seca, Serrada and the municipality of Rueda itself. A oenological vertex which we put on the current map under the profile of its wines from Verdejo grape, fresh, fruity and sweet. But history was not always written with these young wines.

Nor is it necessary to go back to the beginning of time, although there is evidence that the wine of the Tierras de Medina (as it was called in the 16th century) was the one that was consumed in the courts of the Catholic Monarchs with a type of wine quite different from what we associate with the area today.


“They were wines stale, rusty, but they are the type of wines that had always been made in the area ”, explains Carmen Sanmartín, owner of Bodegas de Alberto [Serrada, Valladolid] and president of the DO Rueda. “This is how the wines of Tierra de Medina were, from which we collect part of the legacy that my grandfather left us. [fundador de la bodega]”, Explain.

The other life of the Verdejo grape

Striking, aged, long, but with a remnant of the fruity character of this grape, Now consecrated to drinking, Dorados wines (which have the approval of the DO Rueda), mark the passage of a blessed rarity that today a few producers recover, quantifiable with the fingers of one hand – and we would have more than a little finger.

The ways of reaching the gold in this way are diverse, although we could find certain similarity with the wines of Amontillados. “It is not a fine wine, or it does not look like it, because it does not have such a pronounced biological aging, but it does have oxidative aging that resembles that of Amontillado”, he explains as he guides us through his winery.

Carmen Sanmartín is manager of Bodega Hijos de Alberto Gutiérrez and the current president of DO Rueda.

Thus we come across a garden of demijohns, huge carafes of wine that rest in the Castilian weather and that in De Alberto number about 8,000. “Perhaps some less because always in each racking one breaks because they are so delicate and require a hand wash,” laments Carmen, who speaks of better times when “there were more than 50,000 demijohns.”

16 liters per bottle where the wine is subjected to the inclemency of the Valladolid climate so that it oxidizes naturally for a maximum of one year.


By Alberto Dorado.  Hijos de Alberto Gutiérrez Winery.  DO Rueda

By Alberto Dorado. Hijos de Alberto Gutiérrez Winery. DO Rueda

Cold, heat, rain … even Filomena has passed through this sown glass that serves as a bed for the Verdejo with which De Alberto packages his Dorado, although not only history is written through the glass in wines that, due to their condition, do not have a vintage.

“Then we age it in barrels with the system of criaderas and soleras”, He continues, refreshing each huge barrel in the style of Jerez and thus leaving his wines to sleep for more than eight years, although“ in each of them there are wines with more than 30 years, being in that continuous refreshment ”.

Dealberto Dsc8570

In the case of De Alberto’s Dorado, the wines spend more than eight years on average in the barrels.

A jewel dressed in gold bottled in 50cl containers that has a ‘little’ brother – I would not dare to qualify him as minor – who is the Pale, a contemporary invention of the winery, which yes it has biological aging and flower veil (in the style of Fino and Manzanilla from Sánlucar de Barrameda), and that does not have that initial saline pungency, but does have the sweetness and fruitiness of Verdejo.

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Thus they form the podium and the uniqueness of the wines of the DO Rueda, which is now immersed in a change of course and a facelift for put on the market the concept of Gran Vino de Rueda, that allow aging wines from vineyards that are over 30 years old to go under that label to dignify and value as they deserve these wines that we have flocked to because they are easy to drink and have a magnificent value for money.

The other ‘fingers’ of El Dorado’s hand

As we said, not only Bodegas de Alberto is recovering the golden wine of Castilla. Names like Bodegas Menade (another of the spearheads at the wine tourism level and modern viticulture in the area), Bodegas Félix Cachazo or the Cooperativa Cuatro Rayas are also immersed in the vindication of the eternal Castilian drink.


Carrasviñas Dorado.  Bodegas Félix Lorenzo Cachazo.  DO Rueda

Carrasviñas Dorado. Bodegas Félix Lorenzo Cachazo. DO Rueda

Thus arises the Adorado by Menade, the Carrasviñas by Felix Cachazo or the 61 Dorado de Cuatro Rayas, which differ in elaboration and in the form of reaching this oxidation.

adored menade

Using barrels that have held wine for more than 50 years, Bodegas Menade produces its particular Adorado directly in the criaderas and soleras system.

This is the case of Menade, who for his Adored uses 50% Verdejo grape and another 50% fine palomino grape that has been in the Sanz family for more than fifty years (one of the most illustrious castes of Rueda, responsible for Palacio de Bornos, a best seller in the area) and that they have recovered here.

For this they have used the old barrels of Antonio Sanz, Founder of Palacio de Bornos, he bequeathed to his son Richard, that they already contained that precious treasure that the golden wine of Rueda.

These are old wines, where some of those that are resting in those woods date from 1977. In this case, they dispense with the demijohn, making their Jerez-style wines with the criaderas and soleras and their refreshment system when they are already Richard Sanz definitely bought the barrels from his father.

61 gilt on branch

When a wine is categorized as ‘en rama’, it means that it has not been filtered from the boot to the bottle, so that it maintains its entire body, especially relevant in wines with biological and oxidative aging.

A format similar to the one used by the Cuatro Rayas Cooperative, another of the macro-producers in the area, which in his 61 Dorado en Rama They also use Verdejo and Palomino Fino in equal parts, while in 61 Dorado, which is somewhat more affordable, they use a predominance of Verdejo.


61 Golden in Rama.  Bodegas Cuatro Rayas.  DO Rueda

61 Golden in Rama. Bodegas Cuatro Rayas. DO Rueda

Then it goes to the system of criaderas and soleras, respecting a margin of air inside the barrel so that the flower veil develops, which multiplies in spring and summer, disappearing in autumn and giving way to oxidative aging.

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To maintain that freshness and the boot always covered, each season is they cool the hatcheries with wines that have spent at least a year in concrete, preserving the differential qualities of Verdejo, in another long and unctuous drink that works well as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to any type of cuisine.

Images | Bodegas Hijos de Alberto Gutiérrez / Bodegas Menade / Bodegas Cuatro Rayas
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