Difference Between Verdejo and Verdelho

by Reader
(Melbourne)

Trentham Estate Verdejo

Trentham Estate Verdejo

A reader asks:

I am organising a comparison tasting of Spanish wines alongside Australian wine made from the same variety. I notice that Verdejo is A popular Spanish white wine variety. Is this the same as Verdelho which is relatively common in Australia.


Darby answers
These two varieties are distinct and unrelated, even though the names are similar. In fact there is a plethora of varieites with similar names, just to add to the confusion.

As our reader notes there is plenty of Verdelho in Australia. This variety is from the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. There is still quite an amount grown there and the nearby Azores. It is made into made into medium dry wines and fortified wines. However there is a much greater amount grown in Australia, particular in warmer areas with summer rainfall and where other varieties would not thrive.


Verdejo is a a genetically distinct variety mainly grown in the Rueda region of Spain. Rueda is north west of Madrid, close to the Portuguese border. Over the past decade or two much more interest in this variety has been shown and quality and production is increasing. In the past few Spaniards have taken white wine varieties seriously. Verdejo has attracted interest in Australia as well. Two early producers are Peter Lehmann and Trentham Estate.


So we have two distinct varieites with similar names. Quite simple really.

Well No!


There is Spanish variety called Godello. It makes beautiful white wines in Galicia, the mountainous region of Spain to the North of Portugal. Godello has a synonym Verdelho in Mainland Portugal, bit it is unrelated to the variety on Madeira and Australia.


In the Salamanca Province of Western Spain there is an unrelated variety called Verdejo Serrano. It is almost extinct, as is yet another variety called Verdejo de Salamanca.


But wait there's more!


In Umbria in Central Italy there is an unrelated variety called Verdello. It is used mainly as a blending partner, valued for the high acidity it brings to blends such as Orvietto. It seres a similar purpose in Tuscany and Sicily.

The Tuscans and Lombards also get into the act with a white wine variety called Verdea. It is used for dry whites and dessert wines.

Also in Italy we have another similar sounding variety called Verdeca. This variety is used extensively alone or in a number of blends in Puglia, such as in the DOCs of Locorotondo and Martina Franca.

If all of the above haven't exhausted you then perhaps you could move on to Verdicchio and its variants.

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