PRODUCT: Shaya Verdejo

Scan the rows of wine on the shelf of your local wine shop, and there’s one bottle of Rueda that’s bound to catch your eye should it be in stock. Perhaps it’s the iridescent shimmer of the foiled label. Or maybe it’s the intrigue of the design — a deer poised on profile in a tangled, silver forest. Or maybe it’s the simple, bold name and typeface: Shaya.

Yes, there’s something about that bottle that draws people into Shaya — but it’s the bold, crisp Rueda wine inside the bottle that keeps wine drinkers coming back. After all, as many “critter-label” wines have found out, a good frame can’t save a bad painting, so it’s ultimately all about the juice in the bottle.

A part of the larger Gil family estates, the Shaya brand sits among good vino company, including Spanish wines from D.O. Almansa in the east and D.O. Jumilla in the south. But for Miguel Gil (member of the Gil family and manager of the Shaya bodegas), launching the company’s first D.O. Rueda vintage in 2008 “was the culmination of a dream come true.”

The idea for Shaya started with one basic premise: Work with authentic Verdejo grapes to make an authentic Rueda wine. Nestled on a parcel of land near Segovia, Miguel and his team started their bodega in the heart of Rueda, and focused their efforts on cultivating only the best pre-phylloxera vines. The only thing they didn’t have was a name.

And then, a deer trotted by.

According to Miguel, “the name Shaya comes from the name given to a deer saved at a wildlife rescue center in the area. We liked the name very much, and it also matched our idea of recovering the authentic Verdejo we wanted for our project.”


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