- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Fox Creek, Verdelho, South Australia, 2003, $13

Even obscure wine grapes are international travelers these days. Verdelho hails from Madeira, where it goes into the island’s eponymous fortified wines. However, as a stand-alone varietal, it is now most successful in Australia. Although plantings Down Under are small, quality is high, as the grape there produces some intensely flavored and extremely refreshing dry white wines.

Verdelho’s virtue is its acidity, which remains high even when the grapes are ripe, enabling the wines to taste crisp while at the same time ripe. Its flavors lean toward citrus (lemon and lime), while its bouquet is enticingly floral, with a whiff of honeysuckle that proves especially enticing. In that regard, it resembles viognier, although it tends to be even brisker and brighter.

Fox Creek’s 2003 verdelho is one of the best I’ve tasted. Medium-bodied and full-flavored, it tastes invigorating, making it an ideal choice for sipping on a hot, humid August evening. Try it with a cool summer salad of chicken, tuna or shrimp. Although you may not recognize the grape variety, the wine is well worth getting to know. (Imported by Vineyard Brands.)

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