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.
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
Casal da Coelheira 2017 Private Collection Verdelho (Tejo)PortugalThis limited edition wine was created purely from Verdelho. It is ripe ...See Full Review$20
Las Positas 2016 Verdelho (Alta Mesa)Central ValleyLight in body and very crisp in texture, this wine nevertheless packs ...See Full Review$35
Blandy's 2000 Colheita Single Harvest Verdelho (Madeira)PortugalAlready with a wonderful old-gold color, this aromatic wine with its fruit, ...See Full Review$72
Momento 2015 White (Western Cape)South AfricaBright, clean aromas of apple flesh, green melon, quinine, lanolin and straw ...See Full Review$35
Casal da Coelheira 2016 Private Collection Verdelho (Tejo)PortugalIntensely crisp and perfumed, this is a green-fruit flavored wine. Its tangy ...See Full Review$20
Campolargo 2015 Verdelho (Bairrada)PortugalThis is a limited-production, food-friendly wine, spicy and slightly oxidative. That gives ...See Full Review$30
Quinta da Alorna 2016 Verdelho (Tejo)PortugalA ripe and perfumed wine, this is well structured with a touch ...Best BuySee Full Review$10
Ribafreixo 2016 Gáudio Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalThis perfumed wine has a delicate apple and pear character enlivened by ...Best BuySee Full Review$11
Fenestra 2015 Silvaspoons Vineyard Verdelho (Lodi)Central ValleyA succulent, almost thick mouthfeel and subtle doughy, nutty flavors give this ...See Full Review$17
Herdade do Esporão 2016 V Verdelho (Alentejano)PortugalThe wine brings out a strongly herbal, tangy character in this perfumed ...See Full Review$14
Mollydooker 2011 The Violinist Verdelho (McLaren Vale)South AustraliaLooking for something different to serve with your cheese course? This aged ...See Full Review$20
Colinas do Douro 2015 Verdelho (Douro)PortugalFrom vineyards in the eastern Douro Superior region, this perfumed white is ...See Full Review$29
South Coast 2016 Verdelho (California)California OtherFrom Silva Spoon Vineyards in Lodi, this uncommon California bottling of a ...See Full Review$20
Broken Earth 2015 Verdelho (Paso Robles)Central CoastThere is tons of potential for this varietal in the hot eastern ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$24
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