Verdelho is of Portuguese origin, closely associated with the island of Madeira where it also lends its name to a style of wine. Madeira and Australia are about the only places it's made in any notable volume. One explanation for its popularity in Australia is its suitability for pairing with a range of Asian and Asian influenced foods.
That doesn't quite explain why it has a history dating back to the early 18th century when the first record of its importation, by the Australian Agricultural Company, is known.
Growth is quite recent with crush figures of 1,366 tonnes in 1990 increasing to 14,000 tonnes in 2010 [source: ABS], that said this is down from 26,000 tonnes in 2004.
Verdelho seems to excel in the Hunter Valley, where warm conditions and careful handling can produce lean and minerally wines, with yields kept low and made in a dry style.
This author's namesake, the much more qualified Jancis MW snobbishly (IMO) writes of it: "it is a tradesman like variety, liking warmth, yielding well but not prodigiously, and producing a wine which epitomises its working-class background".
This example shows varietal tropical fruit aromas of guava and passionfruit, with some lighter honeysuckle present too.
Easy drinking, in the mouth there's an initial fullness of expression, but the progression is then to a linear wine with good acid framed by some light mineral and tangy citrus. All up, for $15 pretty well done.
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[This page was edited at 18:00 on 26/09/2011 as the vintage was 2011]