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A Divine Verdelho From California

Verdelho is native to Portugal, best known for making up the base wine for the fortified wines of Madeira and the Azores. Outside of Portugal, it made its way to Australia and to California where less than 150 acres are planted. Most of the vineyard acreage planted to Verdelho is in Lodi and that's where Wander-Must's winemaker, Gianna Fugazzi, sources her grapes. Gianna gets her Verdelho from a small family owned vineyard in Acampo, just north of the town of Lodi, that grows three acres of it. Gianna fermented the wine in 20% in neutral wood and the remainder in stainless steel tank. After initial fermentation the wine was stopped from going through malolactic fermentation. The finished wine was bottled in June of 2020. It is brimming with juicy tangerine and under-ripe melon flavors. Light and refreshing, it is a delightful wine to sip while cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

When I was first sampled on the 2019 Wander-Must Verdelho I had no idea where the wine was from. The label, though attractive, doesn't make its origins obvious. I remember being in a grumpy mood at the time, perhaps because I was standing near the roll-up door, standing more than six feet away from the wine rep (a dear colleague) while trying to access the wines. When it came to tasting this one, my mood suddenly changed. I loved it at first whiff. The fruit was sunny and lively, but it was too delineated with fresh acidity to be a domestic wine, or so I thought. I couldn't get over that is was from Lodi. It was so good. My next assumption was that it had to be expensive, but to my surprise, it wasn't. At The Wine House, we are offering the 2019 Wander-Must Verdelho for $14.98 a bottle! Pretty impressive given that only 350 cases were produced. Try a glass and slip into a state of saudade!
-Anya Balistreri
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