Australia is one of a few countries who use Verdelho as a table wine. The table wines in Portugal haven't taken off as the grapes are picked before they are ripe and persuading growers against this has proven difficult, well, so I am told.
Much of the Verdelho we see here in Australia is made for immediate consumption - intense flavours of tropical fruit leap to the fore making it a refreshing drop for a hot day, and accompanied by seafood to make the match perfect. One Verdelho I tasted recently was picked, fermented and in the bottle within six weeks!
Some wineries are using age to bring out some different characteristics in this variety. Examples that come to mind are Bent Road Winery from the Granite Belt and Heathcote producer Flynns Wines. Although these two wines are made with subtle differences, an example being some barrel age (only 3-4 months) contributing to the Flynns Verdelho which adds a creamy edge with textured notes. Winemaker Greg Flynn's intention is to show how diverse Verdelho can be.
With all this in mind I was lucky enough to indulge in a vertical tasting of some Barambah Wines Verdelho with winemaker and Australian Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith.
Something which struck my eye immediately was the label stating the wine had a cellaring potential of 2-3 years. Although this was put on the label for the consumer, the tasting demonstrated that there was plenty of kick left in these wines cellared in good conditions with some wonderful development taking place.
Barambah Verdelho 2007
Whole bunch pressed, age characteristics are clearly apparent. Dry grass, a touch of smoke, lemon sherbert and citrus oil all creating an engaging nose. The wine has moved from the fresh stage to a bottle age phase.
An appearance of pale gold with a touch of green. The palate is coated with some grassy type flavours along with reduced melon and pawpaw (13% alc). Super length of longer than a minute with a soft finish, and although the acid is still up there ever so slightly, I couldn't help to suggest that this has easily another five years of life left in it. My favourite of the three.
Barambah Verdelho 2008
Whole bunch pressed once again, this wine was the palest of the three in appearance. A herby and grassy nose with a simple palate. Simple by the way of the fact the wine is in a neutral phase of development - not fresh nor bottle age. The palate did grow after a few seconds but didn't have a the width nor breadth of the previous (12.5% alc).
There was some sweetness on the finish, and although another five years would see change, I get a sense that this vintage will fade.
A light golden appearance and heaps of fruit. Tropical fruit typical of Verdelho on the nose coupled with a smidge of honey and a banana peel aromas.
Some ever so gentle spice on the palate along with clean and refereshing tropical fruit flavours. Good acid and impressive length (13.5% alc).
Still in the fresh stage and considering the amount of fruit in this wine, I am confident this will kick on wonderfully for easily ten years. Better still, I sense it may even be in a better place than the '07 at the ten year mark.
Although the back vintages are now unavailable, the 2010 is ready to go and will definitely reward patience. Well priced for $19, a Sample Taste Six Pack special is currently available with three whites ('09 Unwooded Chardonnay, '10 Verdelho, '10 Classic White) and three reds ('09 Shiraz, '08 Shiraz Viognier, '08 Selection Red) for $88 with free delivery.
Who: Barambah http://www.barambah.com.au/
What: First Grid Verdelho
Where: South Burnett, Queensland
When: 2007, 2008, 2010
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