Spain’s Rueda wine region has made several changes to its Denomination of Origin (DO) rules, in a bid to keep up with ‘new market demands’. Changes include new classifications, new labels and new grape varieties.
The 2019 still white wine vintage will see old classifications Rueda Verdejo, Rueda Sauvignon and Rueda merge under one classification - Rueda.
New category, Gran vino de Rueda, has been created for wines made with grapes from vineyards over 30yo, with a yield of less than 6,500 kg per hectare and a 65% processing ratio. Gran vino de Rueda wines can begin production in the 2020 season and will carry a different back label.
The updated rules also see the return of Rueda Pálido, described as a ‘traditionally crafted’ wine in Rueda that had disappeared from the DO's classification system. Among several guidelines, Rueda Pálido wines have to be stored in oak barrels for at least three years before hitting the market.
Elsewhere, new classification Vino de Pueblo calls for at least 85% of grapes to come from a stated village.
Sparkling wines, meanwhile, may include the words 'gran añada' (excellent harvest) when the production process, from pressing to disgorging, exceeds 36 months. The reference must also include a vintage year.
On the varieties front, Viognier and Chardonnay are now permitted as well as red grape Syrah. However, the DO said that these new varieties ‘do not possess the status of main varieties, such as Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc in whites and Tempranillo in reds’.
‘All these changes respond to our wineries' desire to adapt to the market and consumer demands, both nationally and internationally,’ said Carmen San Martín, president of the Consejo Regulador DO Rueda. ‘Now they have more possibilities to stand out in the market and more freedom in wine making with the DO Rueda seal. It is also an opportunity for winegrowers to work with new varieties which, according to studies, have proven to adapt perfectly to our climate and soil.’