In The Know About Verdelho: Your Quick Guide To Vine & Wine
Your Quick Guide To Verdelho
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OK, bear with me in this guide on Verdelho, because things may get a little confusing. I apologize in advance!
Verdelho. Verdejo, Verdelho Tinto. Verdello. Verduzzo. Godello. They all sound the same, but they are completely different grape varieties, with totally different origins and histories. Today we will be talking about the grape whose roots began in the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores, and found a surprising home down under in Australia.
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Madeira, Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, Australia, Argentina, California
- Loam (sand, silt, clay)
Verdelho originated in the 1400s when the Portuguese colonized the Atlantic island of Madeira. The grape later spread to the Azores and mainland Portugal.
- The Phylloxera and powdery mildew that plagued Europe in the late 1800s significantly decreased the number of vines planted throughout the continent. Eventually the grape was brought to Australia.
- The vines love warm, wet, humid climates. This makes it unique from most grape varieties which tend to do better in slightly cooler climates with limited rainfall. As such, Australia is a perfect home. It currently accounts for the majority of Verdelho plantings.
- The grape most common in Madeira and Australia is distinct from the Verdelho known today in the Iberian peninsula. Portuguese Verdelho is actually a synonym for Godello/Gouveio, the grape commonly found in the Galicia and Douro regions. Portuguese and Spanish Verdelho is not the same as Verdelho from Madeira or Austalia.
- Grapes are found in tightly packed clusters with thick, hard skins and juicy pulp.
- Verdelho can be made into fortified or unfortified wines. Fortified wines contain neutral grape liquors such as Brandy or utilize flash heating to help “age” and preserve the final bottles.
- Madeira made with Verdelho must contain at least 85% of the grape to be labelled as such.
- If unfortified, it is often used in white wine blends along with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
- Fortified wine can last for weeks or even months after you open the bottle, at room temperature!
- Check the label on your bottle. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! Verdelho is not to be confused with:
- Spanish Godello
- Spanish Verdejo
- Portuguese Gouveio
- Italian Verduzzo
- Italian Verdello
- Unfortified Verdelho is a medium bodied, dry to off-dry (slightly sweet) wine with a crisp or even zesty acidity. A fortified wine will be sweeter and fuller in body, with nutty or caramel flavors.
- Flavors include:
- stone fruits such as apricot and peach
- citrus such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin
- tropical fruit such as mango, papaya, pineapple and kiwi
- honeysuckle and similar sweet florals
- fruit punch or “tutti-frutti” flavors
- Cheese: cottage and cream cheeses; soft ripened cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Blue); nutty cheeses (Comte, Gruyère, Manchego)
- Meat: smoked, grilled or roasted chicken, turkey, ham/pork, duck
- Seafood: shellfish, white fish, sushi, salmon, swordfish;
- Pasta/Risotto: tomato or herb and olive-oil based dishes; spicy noodles and fried rice
- Vegetables/Vegetarian: artichoke, capers, mushroom, nuts (hazelnuts, macadamias), onion, summer squash, tomato, zucchini; also perfect with vinaigrette salads and Asian stir fry and curry
- Sweets: banana, passion fruit, melon, peach, apricot, Meyer lemon, key lime, honey, caramel
- Blandy’s 10-Year-Old Verdelho Madeira Madeira, Portugal $29.99
- Mollydooker Girl on the Go Sparkling Verdelho McLaren Vale, Australia $29.00
- Ashbrook Estate Verdelho Margaret River, Australia $19.99
- Herdade Do Esporão V Verdelho Alentejano, Portugal $13.99