Wine of the Week

Published February 8, 2006

Marques de Riscal, Blanco, Rueda, 2003

This wine is made by Marques de Riscal, one of the great old marques of Spain's grand Rioja, but the wine is something newer. It's made from verdejo, a less expensive grape, from vineyards in the Rueda, a less prestigious district farther west.

But Riscal has always been innovative and creative (architect Frank Gehry is designing the winery's visitor center) and pioneered in better grapes and smarter winemaking in the Rueda. The result is a polished white at everyday prices.

Verdejo is as dry and crisp as sauvignon blanc, but it has more flowers in the bouquet, a rounder texture, and tropical tastes of more bananas than grapefruits, with a long finish. It's light, friendly drink yet crisp enough to cut though creamy pasta or seafood dishes.

Availability: Under $10 at liquor and wine stores.