2020 Limited Release Verdelho
The plantings of Verdelho on our estate vineyard are now maturing and we are seeing a real consistency with the fruit. The 2020 crop was the second year we utilized our fully inert gas membrane press (the first one in the USA) to harness the array of subtle fruit and aromas the variety is capable of producing. The result, in our minds, is outstanding.
This variety, has a fascinating history. Believed to originate from Portugal where it is still grown, it was the most widely planted grape on the small island of Madeira, known mostly for its fortified wine. In the 1970’s it was ‘adopted’ by a number of Australian producers (from a number of different regions across the country) and allowed to ripen fully to produce very appealing white table wines. Its presence in California was first with the Sierra Foothills and has gradually spread its reach. The variety’s ability to ripen early and handle warmer conditions make it an ideal competitor to many distinctive white wine styles from around the world (NZ Sauvignon Blanc for example).
Our Estate Verdelho, planted in 2012 on 1103P rootstock and Clone 2 grafted consists of 4.78 acres utilizing 10’ x 5’ spacings and a simple vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellising system. The berries are relatively thick-skinned, it is disease resistant and ripens early (typically the first harvested), a dream for the vineyard team. The most remarkable feature of Verdelho grapes is how bright green the juice looks. Our reductive approach and completely inert membrane press allows us to maintain that freshness through to bottle. The 2020 was harvested at 24.0 Brix and underwent a cool (54F) ferment for 27 days. During the ferment, its characteristic floral and lime aromas emerge, really setting the scene for the rest of harvest, there is nothing quite like the smell of fermenting juice. Interestingly, the finished wine seems quite closed on the nose with only hints of fruit but literally explodes with flavour on the palate. Fresh acidity, great weight and texture are hallmarks of excellent Verdelho. This wine has the benefit of being able to be served well chilled, a grewat summer choice.