A label that caught my eye recently was from Shaya Winery. My wife and I have been loving a new Venezuelan restaurant in town that serves a wonderful Tilapia and Shrimp ceviche. We wanted to try to make it at home and I thought Verdejo would be a perfect pairing. I went to our local shop and glanced around. The first wine that caught my eye was from Shaya. It featured a skinny deer on the label with big ears. My wife came over as I was looking and endorsed the wine thanks to the "cute deer" on the label. I was not familiar with Shaya but it was from Rueda region in Spain, so I figured how bad could it be?
Well, thank goodness the label had a deer on it and it made me pick it up. The wine is absolutely delightful. It turned out to be the perfect pairing for our ceviche. It was the perfect crisp white wine for our dinner that evening. It shows great flavors of grapefruit with a touch of peach. The fruit is balanced by great minerality and bright acidity on the finish. Overall, this wine quickly became a staple on our rack. If you like a crisp white wine and/or fresh seafood, this wine is for you.
I wanted to add a couple fun notes about this wine and verdejo in general. First, the wine is actually named for Shaya deer that are native to where the vineyards are in Rueda, Spain. Here is the first couple lines from the bottle:
"As the morning mist disperses across the undulating countryside the Shaya deer emerge from the surrounding pine forest to forage. The gnarled vineyards planted a very long time ago in the sandy riverstone soil produce the finest Verdejo in Rueda. There is a distinct minerality in these wines which compliment the abundance of fruit flavors."
Second, a fun tasting for you to have with friends is old vine Verdejo vs. new vine Verdejo. The panel will almost certainly be mixed. In my experience, as evident by my liking of Shaya, I prefer old vine. The wines are usually drier, crisper and show more minerality. New vine verdejos tend to be riper and plumper. Either way, old or new, I am a Verdejo fan!
Shaya Old Vine Verdejo in a Nutshell:
Description: 100% Verdejo. Pale in the glass with a touch of green. Great fruit on the nose and palate being that of grapefruit and lime. Good minerality throughout. Combine that with bright acidity on the finish and you have surprisingly complex Verdejo.
Food Pairings: Great with any fresh seafood such as shrimp or Scallops. We enjoyed it with a ceviche. Also would be nice with a big bowl of Linguine and White Clam Sauce.
Vintage: Current Vintage is 2010. This wine is usually in the $13 to $16 dollar range. Well worth it!
For more information on Shaya as well as other Spanish Wines, please visit: Oro Wines