For every Christmas Eve, my family heads to my Uncle Matt’s house for the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. He’s a great cook and always puts together an overwhelming mix of dishes, all of which we somehow find room to try—various seafood salads and pastas that combine shrimp, mussels, calamari, baby octopus or scungilli, a delicious pasta with clam sauce, fried smelts, baccalà (dried salt cod) or baked cod and, for those who prefer less traditional fare, a tuna or salmon dish.
Typically we bring some crisp Northeast Italian whites—high-quality Pinot Grigio or Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige, Soave from a top producer—or some fuller-bodied whites from Campania, such as Falanghina. But as my brother and I are both fond of Albariño, an excellent match for seafood, that Spanish white has also made its way into our repertoire. Since my brother was bringing Albariño this time around, I continued the theme with another Spanish white, Verdejo, from the Rueda region. I rarely think to buy this variety, but as this bottle demonstrated, that’s an unfortunate oversight on my part.
The Tramoya, made by Bodegas Don Diego (although the Tramoya name is what’s prominent on the front label) was exceptionally vibrant, leading off with ripe Jonagold apple, citrus and sea salt flavors that complemented the seafood, picking up pineapple and melon notes toward the finish. Its firm acidity kept me refreshed throughout the meal’s multiple salty courses. 89 points, non-blind, and a good deal at its suggested $14 retail price. If you want to sample Verdejo and can’t find this particular wine, try any of the bottlings recommended at the link below.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Bodegas Don Diego Verdejo Rueda Tramoya 2008 (88, $14).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Verdejos from Spain.