2019 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 desert wines along with the Bual, Malvasia, and Sercial varieties. With time, Verdelho became 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 owners Jeff & Margie Runquest, along with their 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 winter of 2019 yielded well over 50” of rain in Amador County. Spring started late, in mid-May, and was cool and compressed. As a result, fruit set in the Verdelho was reduced by 50%. Summer weather was “normal” but hot, dry fall winds were hard on the canopy. Fortunately, the canopy was ample and did shade the berries from sunburn. Thus, wine quality was excellent.

Fermentation & Aging:
The grapes were harvested on August 29th. The Brix was 23.9°, 3.71 pH and 6.4 g/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 5.5 months. The wine was bottled on Feb. 13, 2020.