Bodegas Menade was established in 2005 by Alejandra, Marco and Richard Sanz - the 6th generation of this wine-producing family - just a kilometre west of the village of Rueda. Their winery incorporates a cellar hewn out of the solid rock of La Seca at the beginning of the 19th century. Richard is the winemaker at the estate, whilst his brother Marco is the viticulturalist, and sister Alejandra looks after exports and communications.
Their philosophy is grounded in nature, and respect for the vineyards and terroir. All wines are certified organic, no sulphur or copper sulphate is used in their vineyards, and fermentation is with only natural yeasts present on the grape skins. This is a producer of seriously interesting and innovative Rueda wines; their portfolio focuses predominantly on Verdejo and includes the stunning 'La Mision', which is part fermented in tinajas (traditional clay fermenting vessels) made from clay from their own vineyards, and a (non-Jerez) Palomino Verdejo flor aged wine.
Menade’s by-line is ‘Made by Nature’ – the winery don’t use chemical treatments, opting instead for a natural approach using plant-based infusions (for example using nettles, cinnamon) which are kinder on the soil, plants and naturally occurring yeasts. All wines are certified organic, and no sulphur or copper sulphate is used in their vineyards. They use green harvesting to control yields.
Their ecosystem includes mobile trees and bushes – to allow them to understand which are the most beneficial across their different vineyard parcels. They also have a garden boasting more than 40 species, many of the plants indigenous to Castilla y Leon, and pollination gardens with aromatic plants. These micro-systems, together insect ‘hotels’, have created ideal habitats for insects and other wildlife - increasing biodiversity in their vineyards.
The Verdejo grapes are selected from parcels grown in stony clay and limestone soils.
They are hand-harvested and are fermented using wild yeasts in stainless steel - between 18 and 24ºC. Malolactic fermentation also takes place spontaneously, then the wine is gently racked and spends around 3 months on lees. No sulphur is added during the vinification process.
Pronounced honeyed and floral aromas, with hints of barley sugar, and savoury notes. The palate is textural with distinctive leesy, bready and floral characters
Try with Serrano ham and manchego croquetas.