Telmo Rodriguez Basa Blanco 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Their bread-and-butter wine, with the largest production of the company that keeps the cash flowing, is their white from Rueda. When I tasted the recently bottled 2018 Basa, it was a little reductive so early in its life. You have to guide yourself by the palate in cases like this, and the wine is balanced with a soft texture, approachable and pleasant, easy to drink. 425,000 bottles produced.
Telmo Rodriguez is one of Spain’s pioneer winemakers, advocating native grape varietals tied to the climates and conditions of their sites, and making world-class wines from undiscovered as well as known regions. Perhaps most impressive, while Telmo Rodriguez makes rare and limited wines of astonishing character and quality, his everyday wines have been equally praised, and widely recognized for the tremendous value they offer.
Telmo studied viticulture and oenology at the University of Bordeaux and was the winemaker at his family winery in Rioja, Remelluri, and then set off on his own in the early 1990s to discover new vineyards and regions all around Spain. He now makes a range of wines in diverse viticultural areas of Spain, with an emphasis on the following: vineyards biodynamically farmed, vines are exclusively bush-trained the traditional Spanish method, replanting only with varietals traditional to their regions.
Telmo was among the first to make significant wines in Toro, Rueda, Valdeorras, Malaga, Alicante and Cigales. In these areas he uses native varietals, often grapes rediscovered such as Godello, Verdejo, Moscatel and Monastrell which do not have wide recognition. With other classically recognized varietals such Tempranillo, Garnacha and Carignan, he works with vines that are indigenous and reflect the character of their particular site. As a result, Telmo has been one of the leaders of the quality revolution with these varietals in up and coming areas such as Toro, as well as in the traditional areas of Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
Rueda is located along the banks of the Duero River in Spain’s Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive north of Madrid. While winemaking in this area goes back to the 12th century, it was in the 1980s that the region was granted Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status. Today, more than 70 wineries call Rueda home. This national favorite is the top-selling white wine in Spain.
Notable facts Rueda’s main grape variety, Verdejo, gets it distinct complexity from stressful growing conditions and mineral-rich soil. Think of Verdejo as a fuller-bodied and more aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. A lush and smooth character with perfectly balanced acidity means Rueda wines pair well with seafood, fresh salads and spicy food, but are also great on their own.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.