Verdelho is a Portuguese grape variety that is grown on Portugal’s mainland in the Douro Valley and on the island of Madeira. Verdelho came to Australia in the 1820s and was traditionally used in the production of fortified wines, before eventually being used to produce the modern, fruit driven, dry white table wines styles. Verdelho is now being seen as a fresh, tropical style that offers great value.
Australian Verdelho has a steady following, not surprising given how well the fresh, clean nature of these wines suit our food and lifestyle, as it’s great with Asian cuisine. While it is widely grown, Western Australia and New South Wales consistently produce the best examples. Both states produce wines that offer pristine aromas and flavours, which are made for early consumption. Generally the cooler grown or early picked examples are leaner and finer, showing citrus fruit, grassy and herb flavours. Warmer grown, riper Verdelho is generally richer, fuller with ripe tropical fruit salad flavours. Regardless of style, or region, Australian Verdelho represents great value, with most being under the $20 mark.
Western Australia has a good spread of Verdelho regions in Margaret River, Swan District, Manjimup and Geographe. The best examples of white wines made from this variety are generous, with tropical fruit salad aromas and flavours, and are made for immediate enjoyment.
The Hunter Valley was the initial area in which Verdelho was planted in the 1820s and the variety seems well suited to its warm conditions. The Hunter Valley has substantial Verdelho plantings and the general quality is very good, typically showing sweet fruit, spicy notes, balanced acidity with a glossy mouthfeel and zesty finish.
Another region with a history of cultivating Verdelho for fortified wine production. Wine producers here are successfully creating dry white Verdelhos of varying styles with many accolades.
Verdelho has been in the Riverina for decades after initially being used for fortified wine production. The region’s hot climate easily ripens the fruit and produces wines with bright, tropical fruit flavours.