Verdelho is a white wine-grape variety native to the Portuguese island of Madeira. It is best known as one of the four so-called noble grapes of Madeira, where it contributes to the island’s signature fortified wines. It is grown to a significant extent in Australia, as well as numerous other winegrowing regions around the world.
In the vineyard, the Verdelho vine produces small bunches of small, thick-skinned berries. Verdelho is an early-ripening grape and is particularly susceptible to the threat of spring frosts and powdery mildew.
The Verdelho grape’s history in Portugal dates to the 17th century, at least. On the island of Madeira, Verdelho is considered a noble grape, alongside Sercial, Bual and Malvasia. The outbreak of phylloxera had a devastating impact on these noble grapes. Though plantings of these traditional grape varieties have long been dwarfed by the Tinta Negra variety (also known as Negramoll or Tinta Negra Mole), they remain noteworthy because of the distinctive styles of wine they produce.
Verdelho Madeira is traditionally a medium-dry fortified wine. With between 27 and 45 grams per liter of residual sugar, it falls between Sercial and Bual in terms of sweetness. To taste, this style of Verdelho shows distinctive smoky notes, vibrant acidity and considerable saccharinity. Verdelho is the most widely planted of the four traditional varieties. In order to be labelled as a Verdelho Madeira, a wine must contain a minimum of 85-percent Verdelho in its blend.
Australian Verdelho is a dry white table wine and can range from young and relatively simple to full-bodied and tangy wines that have undergone barrel aging. The more full-bodied style is popular in the McLaren Vale, Hunter Valley and elsewhere in Western Australia. Typical flavor descriptors for these wines include tropical fruits, lime, grapefruit and honeycomb. These Verdelho wines are lively and decidedly tangy.
A limited amount of Verdelho is cultivated in the Savennières region of France’s Loire Valley. Other minor plantings can be found in Argentina, California, South Africa and New Zealand.
A number of distinct grape varieties have been referred to as Verdelho at one point or another. The varietal best known as Godello in Spain was once known as Verdelho or Verdelho do Dão. It is found in the Alentejo, Dão and Douro regions on mainland Portugal, and is now officially known as “Gouveio.” Another example is Verdelho Tinto, a virtually extinct variety once grown in Portugal’s Minho region.
Verdelho should not be confused with Verdello, an Italian grape from Umbria, or with Verdejo, the Spanish variety best known in the white wines of Rueda.
If you’re searching for a sweet white wine for dinner or a special occasion, you’ve come to the right place! Browse reviews on top-rated wines submitted by Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s expert tasters using the Buying Guide database below.
Azores Wine Company 2018 Verdelho O Original Verdelho (Açores)PortugalRipe and lightly honeyed, with creamy apple flavors, this is a delicious ...See Full Review$48
Carmim 2018 Monsaraz Verdelho (Alentejo)PortugalTropical fruits, mango and pineapple come from this perfumed wine. It has ...See Full Review$30
Mouchão 2018 Ponte Branco Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalThis is a return of a historic wine for the estate, a ...See Full Review$30
Terras de Alter 2018 Terra d'Alter VDL Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalLightly perfumed and attractively fruity, this is an apple and canteloupe flavored ...See Full Review$14
Adega Cooperativa de Borba 2018 Senses Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalThe wine is perfumed and full of creamed apple flavors. Its soft ...See Full Review$12
Ashbrook Estate 2018 Wilyabrup Single Vineyard & Hand Picked Verdelho (Margaret River)Western AustraliaVerdelho is a historic variety in Western Australia, particularly in the Swan ...See Full Review$28
Bodkin 2018 Verdelho (Suisun Valley)North CoastAustere in feel but nicely flavorful, this light-bodied wine offers green-apple and ...See Full Review$22
Intercoastal 2017 Verdelho (Lodi)Central ValleyEarthy, milky tones dominate the aroma of this light-bodied wine. Light hints ...See Full Review$22
Herdade do Esporão 2018 V Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalThe wine is part of this producer's range of single-variety wines. The ...See Full Review$14
Monte da Ravasqueira 2018 Gáudio Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalSoftly textured and perfumed, the wine is rounded and full of melon ...Best BuySee Full Review$11
Las Positas 2018 Estate Verdelho (Livermore Valley)Central CoastThis medium-bodied wine strikes a nice balance between a mild grassy, herbaceous ...See Full Review$35
Vezer Family Vineyard 2018 Estate Franci Verdelho (Suisun Valley)North CoastShowing mineral and oak complexity rather than overt fruitiness, this full-bodied wine ...See Full Review$34
Meeker 2018 Evina Vineyard Verdelho (Contra Costa County)Central CoastGrassy, weedy aromas and tangy, underripe flavors dominate this light-bodied and refreshing ...See Full Review$21
Vezer Family Vineyard 2017 Franci Estate Verdelho (Suisun Valley)North CoastThis full-bodied wine has a strong herbal veggie character from the grass ...See Full Review$35
Paulo Laureano 2016 Ema's Vineyard Verdelho (Alentejo)PortugalGrown in the relatively cool subregion of Vidigueira, this Verdelho-based wine is ...See Full Review$15
Henriques & Henriques NV Verdelho 10 Years Old Verdelho (Madeira)PortugalA medium-dry style made from the Verdlho grape, this wine is fruity ...See Full Review$50
Ashbrook Estate 2017 Verdelho (Margaret River)Western AustraliaThis wine is all about fruit and texture. Lifted aromas of apple ...See Full Review$25
Herdade do Esporão 2017 V Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalOne of a range of varietal wines from this vast estate, this ...See Full Review$14
Bodkin 2017 The Falconer Verdelho (Suisun Valley)North CoastMore savory than fruity, this interesting and earthy wine has aromas of ...See Full Review$28
Meeker 2017 Evina Vineyard Verdelho (Contra Costa County)Central CoastVery crisp, lean and herbaceous, this light-bodied wine has aromas of celery ...See Full Review$20
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