Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2006 Lady Grace Verdelho

From somewhere a bottle of Burford and Brown's, 2006 Lady Grace Verdelho appeared in our wine refrigerator - how, I do not know. The wine's pale appearance almost dissuaded us from opening it - think cheap pinot grigio. However, curiosity overcame our skeptical attitude and once again we found that looks can be deceiving. It's nose is floral and the flavor, somewhat like apricots. You can also feel the wine's complexity as it moves off the tongue and throughout the mouth. With a nice balanced acidity - this wine is a refreshing libation alone or with a meal.

Having heard of Verdelho, but never really researching the grape, I found that it originated in the Portuguese island of Madeira and is also grown in the Douro valley to make "white" Port. It is also grown in some regions in Spain and Argentina, but its greatest success outside Portugal has been in Australia.

Peter Burford brought his knowledge of the grape from Australia when he was hired winemaker at California's Alexander Valley Vineyards. In 2001 he started Burford and Brown with a colleague from Alexander Valley Vineyards, Adam Brown, whom he has since bought out. The 2005 Lady Grace Verdelho was his first vintage verdelho, the "Lady Grace" to honor his mother. Burford and Brown is now the largest producer of Verdelho in the United States, so look forward to many future releases. The 2007 Verdelho will be released shortly and is priced at only $10. What a bargain.

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