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swirl and savor

Wine of the Moment: Bodegas Y Vinedos Shaya Verdejo 2008

Beth Ribblett

While searching for new Spanish wines for our upcoming "Beauty of Spain", a wine and cheese pairing event with Richard Sutton of St. James Cheese, Lucie Fitch brought me this new white imported
by Jorge Ordonez. Although Spain is much better known for its earthy, zesty reds, the increase in quality of the whites coming into the states lately has been remarkable. In fact, I've fallen in love with Spanish whites this summer and the Shaya is the source of my current infatuation.

Shaya is a new project that is a joint venture between importer Jorge Ordonez, Enrique Busto and the Gil family of Jumilla. I was blown away because I have never tasted such an intense fruit, but also, mineral laden white wine from the region of Rueda. Shaya are the local deer that like to forage on the vines. The fruit is sourced from extremely old low yielding vines planted in sandy riverstone. The average age of these gnarly vines is between 75 and 112 years old. Obvious aroma and flavor components will remind one of sauvignon blanc and semillon: citrus, melon rind. fig leaf, herb blossoms. But it is the underlying bonus of unexpected minerality that wins my heart and made it the perfect wine to pair with the Miticana cheese in our Tuesday night tasting this week.

Quite rich, but still graceful, this white shows melon, orange blossom, green almond and lime zest flavors in a thick texture. Vibrant acidity keeps this lively. Drink now through 2010. 5,500 cases made. 89 points, Wine Spectator