Verdejo, characterful grape so fashionable in Spain that its total plantings increased threefold between 2004 and 2011 to just over 18,000 ha/44,460 acres. Its distinctive blue-green bloom, which presumably inspired its name, is rueda’s pride and joy (and helped stave off a challenge for primacy from imported sauvignon blanc, with which it is often blended). The variety ripens relatively early but is very susceptible to powdery mildew. DNA parentage analysis suggests Verdejo and godello may be siblings. Wines produced are aromatic, herbaceous (somewhat reminiscent of laurel), but with great substance and extract, capable of ageing well into an almost nutty character.