Whenever the tasting group I'm a member of does a blind tasting, the person who hosts always throws in a ringer -- some wine that's doing it own thing. Often it's an incredibly cheap wine of the varietal that we're tasting, or sometimes it's another varietal entirely (we tend to focus on a single varietal per tasting).
This wine showed up as the ringer in a recent Sauvignon Blanc tasting and while several of us suspected that it was not a Sauvignon Blanc, its incredible floral aromas made it both an interesting comparison to the Sav Blancs we were tasting, and also made it one of my favorite wines of the evening.
Verdelho is a varietal with origins in Portugal, and historically has been used primarily in the production of Madiera. It has gained a small foothold in Australia in both the McLaren Vale and the Hunter's Valley. The grape is very flexible and malleable, yielding very different quality wines depending on when it is harvested -- early it produces spicy, herbal wines, later, more fruit driven aromatic wines, such as this one.
Marquis-Philips is a joint venture between Sparky and Sarah Marquis, the winemakers at Fox Creek, and U.S. importer Dan Philips. Together they are forging a style of wine that makes use of Australian fruit but is crafted with an American style (more oak driven, bolder, etc.). This is embodied by the strange creature on their label, half kangaroo, half bald eagle. With this formula, they've managed to create something that is quite unique and pleasing.
The color of pale straw, this wine has a nose of white cherries, golden delicious apples, roses, and sweet orange blossom. On the tongue it has a very sikly mouthfeel with strong fruit flavors of white peaches and orange blossom honey, despite having what seems to be very low residual sugar. Like some of the best really dry Alsatian Gewurztraminers I've had, the flavors are not locked in a sweetness at all, but dance around the palate and linger on the finish.
The comparison I've made with Gewertz means that I would highly recommend this wine with Asian foods of all sorts as well as some spicier South American fare. I'd love to try it with a classic Pad Thai.
Overall Score: 9
How Much?: $14
This wine is available in San Francisco at Amphora Wine Merchant on Hayes St. and at various internet wine shops.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune