Special Spanish Variety: Verdejo
Updated: Jun 11, 2021
Winemaker Miguel, of Bodega Miguel Arroyo Izquierdo in the Reuda region of Spain, is known for creating organically farmed wines made with the Verdejo grape variety, held in high regard for their nutty, herbaceous characteristics, and balanced acidity. Miguel’s wine is made with natural yeast, 100% Verdejo grapes, from vines that are a century old. He has designed his vineyards in such a way that an entire vineyard can be harvested in a single night, at the exact perfect moment. All of his care and concentration creates wines that are precise, interesting, and evocative of the person and the land they came from.
Q: Miguel, how did you become a winemaker?
A: I come from four generations of grape growers. Previously my family sold the grapes to larger producers, and made a little bit of wine on the side. When I finished school, I decided to take care of our 100 year old vineyards, and learn the art of winemaking with a very talented New Zealand winemaker.
Q: Everyone talks about terroir: What makes yours unique?
A: Vineyards are located in Puras, which is the highest elevation in the Rueda appellation. My vineyards have been in Puras for centuries, producing amazing quality. Our soil is the best for the Verdejo grape variety, with lots of stones on the surface, and sand, clay and limestone underneath.
Q: What do you do to keep your wines and land healthy?
A: When you have vines that are as old as mine there is very little you need to do. They are perfectly adapted to the environment and they regulate themselves. They have deep long roots and can get water even when we have a very dry summer, which is often here.
The vineyards at Bodega Arroyo Izquierdo.
Q: How many different grape varieties do you work with?
A: Only two: Verdejo and a little bit of Sauvignon blanc, because some of our local customers like something different. Everything we send outside of Spain is 100% Verdejo.
Q: What is the most difficult part of the wine business?
A: The most difficult part is to sell high-end wine from an appellation that is generally known for simple wine, is that I need to demonstrate why my wines are higher quality, and more expensive than most wines from this region.
Q: Tell us something about your region or area; history, music, art, etc.
A: This is the heart of Castilla, and the origin of Spain’s creation. We have a lot or Roman and Moorish history, and therefore a lot of ruins, castles and museums.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the food of your region.
A: Favorites are pig and lamb, naturally raised in the area. From the Romans we inherited wonderful ceramic ovens that cook both the pig and the lamb to absolute perfection...which goes great with our Mus Fermentado en Barrica, aged in French Oak.
Miguel's Verdejo grapes.
Curious to try these special Spanish Wines? Buy all three below!
D.O. Rueda, Spain
100% Verdejo, organically farmed, and aged in stainless steel, this is a classically fresh wine focused around fruity aromas of stone fruit and citrus. The vibrant minerality and herbaceousness is appreciated, and often missed at this price point. Verdejo is a great food wine due to its higher acidity and subtle bitterness which act as a palate cleanser. Try this wine with fish tacos, lime chicken and carnitas.
Miguel Arroyo Izquierdo Mus Lias 2019
This wine is 100% Verdejo, organically farmed, 25% barrel fermented, and aged in a mixed format of stainless steel and French oak of all sizes depending on the block the grapes came from. Also a fresh and fruit forward rendition of Verdejo, accented nicely by the delicate French oak presence, allowing it to hold up to creamier butter based dishes like scallops and pastas in addition to fresher dishes like fish tacos, lime chicken and carnitas.
Miguel Arroyo Izquierdo Mus Fermentado en Barrica 2017, Rueda, Spain
This is 100% Verdejo, organically farmed, 100% barrel fermented in a mixed format of stainless steel and French oak of all sizes depending on the block the grapes came from, and aged on lees for 11 months before bottling. This wine is certainly unique. It is an elegant and complex Verdejo with aromas of stone fruit and flinty minerals. The lees contact through aging adds rich secondary flavors and textures to this profoundly structured wine. Drink this wine with carnitas and pork tacos, roasted chicken and buttery dishes.
Appellation: D.O. Rueda
Number of Producers in the appellation: There are over 70 wineries, ranging in size.
Total production and different wines:
Demimo Verdejo - 250,000 bottles
Mus Lias Verdejo - 40,000 bottles
Mus 'Barrel Fermented' Verdejo - 6,000 bottles
Demimo Verdejo - Plastic
Mus Lias Verdejo - Natural Cork
Mus 'Barrel Fermented' Verdejo - Natural Cork