2016 Verdelho


Wine Notes


Shenandoah Valley, Amador County, CA

Verdelho hails from the island of Madeira, due west of Morocco, and was widely cultivated as early as the 1600’s! Its exact origin remains a mystery, it may have originated on Madeira itself. By 1872 Verdelho constituted two-thirds of the island’s vineyards. Originally, it was used to make Madeira’s famous sweet dessert wines along with the Bual, Malvasia, and Sercial varieties. With time, Verdelho because the most widely planted white variety within the DOC region. Traders took cuttings to the Azores, Australia, France, and Portugal. It came to California as the main variety in premium white port, but it is now re-born as a zesty, layered, dry & crisp table wine.

Verdelho is one of a handful of white wine varieties that do well in warm macro climates since it can develop multilayered fruit profiles and retain its acidity. One great terrior is the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County, home of the Sisney Ranch. The red granitic soils produce spicy wines. Verdelho has small, open clusters with very petite, oval shaped berries that give good concentration. The block is one acre and is meticulously farmed by Jeff & Margie Runquest, along with their astute and dedicated viticulturist, Pat Rohan. The trellis system is a lyre which evenly spaces the shoots to provide dappled sunlight to the fruit. This, in addition to fruit thinning, results in maximizing flavors.

Vintage Notes:
The 2016 growing season began on the heels of our third drought year. Spring weather was warm, resulting in normal flowering and berry set, and thus a solid crop of Verdelho. Summer weather was again the new “normal”; warm with harvest coming early again, starting in early August. Climate change in action! The Verdelho had full maturity, excellent concentration with moderate acid.

Fermentation & Aging:
The grapes were harvested on Aug. 10  at 24.3° Brix, 3.5 pH, and 6.5g/L total acid. The juice was fermented in stainless steel until about 1° Brix then transferred to neutral French oak barrels to finish fermentation and to receive sur lie contact for 5 months. The wine was bottled in Feb. 2017.