Frenchman Didier Belondrade tried his first Verdejo in 1993. “There was elegance and finesse, it was interesting; I enjoyed the bitter, uncloying taste of the variety in the palate”, he recalls. A few months later, he travelled to Verdejo's native region and discovered Rueda's gravelly soils which reminded him of those in Rhône. White wines in Spain were still unexplored, but from the start, he followed high quality principles: a barrel-fermented Verdejo of which 80,000 bottles are sold nowadays (production leader in its category) and is widely available in the international markets.
The winery owns 30 hectares of vineyards spread across 19 plots which are worked independently. All of them lie in La Seca, the village where the winery was built. The majority of soils consist of clay and sand with pebbles on the surface and a deep chalky layer. The search for top quality means that yields are kept below 5,000 kilos per hectare.
Belondrade is one of the few wineries in Rueda -where most wines share a technological, commercial profile- to start working with native yeasts. Since the first vintage (1994), Belondrade y Lurton white (around 24€ in Spain) has evolved towards a more subtle oak presence and currently its use is limited to 300-litre casks. It nevertheless benefits from additional bottle time in order to assemble all of its elements and is capable of developing further in time as several vertical tastings carried out at the winery have shown.
The portfolio is completed with two bottlings named after Didier's daughters, which are both sold under the VT Castilla y León category. Quinta Apolonia Verdejo (around 13€ and approximately 40,000 bottles) acts as second wine and comes from the winery's younger vines as well as deselected barrel lots of Belondrade y Lurton. It might therefore have as much as 30% of barrel aged wine. Quinta Clarisa (around 9€ and less than 10,000 bottles) is a rosé made from Tempranillo.