Verdelho (pronounced "ver-del-oh") is a white wine grape
that grows particularly well in the
Most South Burnett vineyards now produce verdelhos and verdelho blends. All
of them have the distinctive tropical flavours
come from wam- climate production.
South Burnett verdelhos have won many state and national wine show medals over
the last decade, and they've begun to be perceived as one of the region's
But if you're unfamiliar with this variety, this page will background you
The origins of verdelho are unclear - some suspect it originally came from
Sicily - but it's known to have been planted on the
off Morocco in North Africa since
the 15th century where it's been used to produce fortified wines ever since
and white port).
It's also grown in the
in Portugal (where it's known as
and used to produce a white port); in the
of Spain; and in the
of France's Loire Valley. Some verdelho
is also grown in Argentina
In Australia, the first plantings were thought to have been made by John
Macarthur and his sons at Camden Park near Penrith, southwest of Sydney,
in the 1820s.
Today, though, the biggest plantings are in the
Hunter Valley in NSW;
Langhorne Creek in South Australia; and the warmer
parts of the
Swan Valley in Western Australia. In 2001 these three
regions harvested around 10,000 tonnes between them.
In Queensland, the biggest plantings are in the South Burnett but some verdelho
is also grown in the Granite Belt.
Verdelho is a moderately vigorous vine that produces tight bunches of small
oval berries with a high skin-to-juice ratio. The skins can be thick and
taste "hard" when eaten.
The grapes ripen early (in the South Burnett, usually around late December
to early January). The vines are susceptible to powdery mildew and can also
be susceptible to Spring frosts.
Verdelho is known for its high acidity when aged, but if it's drunk young
it usually possesses strong fruit flavors
. Most verdelhos are usually
consumed within two years
of vintage and the wine is very reasonably
priced (usually in the $10 to $20 per bottle range).
Australian versions of verdelho are noted for their intense flavors. The
wine is usually aromatic and high in alcohol. There's also a surprising amount
of flavor variation between the States.
Swan Valley verdelhos are usually fresh and fruity, sometimes with
a honeysuckle vein
Langhorne Creek verdelhos have a soft and flavoursome palate with
tropical flavours such as pineapple and guava
Hunter Valley verdelhos are generally spicy (on both the nose and
South Burnett verdelhos have tropical notes of pineapple, melon, tropical
fruits, guava, honeysuckle and fruit salad.
In general, the cooler the climate the more herbaceous, grassy and
spicy the wine is while warm-climate verdelhos have more tropical
flavours and aromas. If the variety is picked early it will exhibit
more citrus and herbaceous elements, while rich fruit flavours will be dominant
if it's picked late.
Recently some South Burnett winemakers have noticed that while verdelhos
usually degrade very rapidly two years after vintage and become acidic,
some verdelhos have the capacity to "come back" after five years (in
much the same way that semillon does) and produce a very fine wine indeed.
So experiments are now being conducted to see if this process can be reliably
Verdelho is best served chilled
(particularly in warm climates) and
it goes particularly well with with meals that include salads, seafood and
light meats such as chicken, pork and veal.
The spicy, cool climate styles
go well with pesto and roasted vegetables
while the sweeter,warm-climate styles
work surprisingly well with Asian meals.
Verdelho can also be enjoyed on its own or with light accompaniments such
as tapas or appetisers.
Verdelho is a very good alternative for anyone looking for something different
to chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
And while some wine critics argue that verdelho will never be a "great wine",
the growth in popularity of this variety in recent years is undeniable. Some
attribute this to the fact that verdelho is a very straight-forward wine
that smells and tastes like it's made from grapes.
Most verdelho is produced as a straight variety but popular verdelho blends
include semillon, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and chardonnay.
Verdelho is widely grown in the South Burnett and you can obtain verdelhos
from the following wineries and cellar doors:
Note: Most new-season verdelhos are released in the South Burnett
from May onwards. So if you want the freshest possible verdelho, contact
your favourite winery for advice on when they'll be releasing their next