Woop Woop Verdelho 2009

Yellow color; lime, lemon, honeysuckle, on vivid nose; lime, citrus, some vegetable elements, and some oiliness (a verdelho grape characteristic when it has some aging) on the palate.

Full body, good acidity, clean, fruit forward, but not a taste you likely are familiar with. This is not in your chard–sauv blanc–chenin blanc–vermentino–pinot blanco merry-go-round.

Woop Woop is a collaboration between Ben Riggs, the winemaker of Penny’s Hill, and Tony Parkinson, owner of Penny’s Hill. Woop Woop has sporadic availability in the U.S. in the value wine category—most Woop Woop offerings fall in the $10-12 range. Woop Woop is Australian slang for the middle of nowhere in the Outback—as in, “just been to Woop Woop and back.” The grapes for this effort came from back blocks around Austria, so the name is appropriate.

Australia is notable for making verdelho part of their varietal palette way back in the 1820s. Aussies often use it in fortified wine and some sweet wines, although it increasingly is used to make dry, fruit-driven whites such as this effort. In Australia, it particularly is grown in the South Burnett wine region of Queensland, and in the Hunter Region, Langhorne Creek, Cowra, and the Swan Valley. It is the fifth-most important white wine grape in Australia, behind chardonnay, semillon, riesling, and sauvignon blanc.

Verdelho is much more familiar as a Madeira grape and one of the four major Madeira varieties. It is drier than Baul but not as dry as Sercial. Although it is a white grape, it sometimes is confused with verdelho tinto, a red grape grown in Madeira. The grape also is grown in the Douro Valley on the Portuguese mainland—where it is known as “gouveio”—and is used to make quality port wines.

Step out of your white wine comfort zone, give Woop Woop Verdelho a swirl. Low cost adventure, given its affordable price point. $10-13

Woop Woop Verdelho 2009