Time is ripe for verdejo

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White fish, especially grilled

Good choices:

Ceviche, crab cakes, Indian food, baked sea bass, spicy dishes

Source: "What to Drink With What You Eat" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page

On the label

Look on the back of wine bottles from Spain's Rueda wine region and you'll see a pretty but official-looking sticker glued to the glass. It's required under the wine regulations promulgated for the area, known as a denominacion de origen (DO). The stickers are seen as a way to help consumers identify Rueda's various wines and thwart any attempts to make counterfeit Rueda wine. Here is what the sticker says and what it means, according to the region's official wine Web site: dorueda.com/en

Rueda verdejo: Normally made with 100 percent verdejo grape but can contain as little as 85 percent of the grape variety. "Great aromatic potential and very elegant scent. Fruity aromas with anisette-like and fennel hues. Strong body and good palate, with great fruitiness and the bitter touch characteristic of this variety. Dry wines, with a minimum alcohol content of 11.5 percent."

Rueda: Made with at least 50 percent verdejo grapes. "The properties of the Verdejo are more diluted, due to the presence of other varieties. Fresh, smooth and floral, with a minimum alcohol content of 11 percent."

Rueda sauvignon: The wine is at least 85 percent sauvignon blanc. "Great aromatic intensity and reminiscences of tropical fruits are the main features of this variety. Agreeable on the palate, it has a long aftertaste with a minimum alcohol content of 11 percent."

Rueda espumoso: Sparkling wine made with the traditional secondary fermentation and again in the bottle. "The verdejo develops great fruitiness and smoothness." Dry or semi-dry sparklers are at least 50 percent verdejo. Brut or brut nature must be fashioned out of a minimum 85 percent verdejo grapes. Minimum alcohol content: 11.5 percent.

Rueda dorado: A sherrylike wine. "Golden colour, with slightly toasted aroma and flavor due to the long oxidation in oak barrels. Alcohol content of no less than 15 percent."

— B.D.
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