Mon 15 Jun 2009
Snatch the grilled shrimp from the grill or, quite differently, chow down on a refreshing Vietnamese seaweed salad or a platter of spring rolls, and to accompany these dishes, twist open a bottle of d’Arenberg “The Stump Jump” Verdelho 2008, McLaren Vale. Fourth-generation winemaker Chester Osborn continues to exercise his talents as one of the most ingenious winemakers in Australia; this bottle is a delightful illustration of what he accomplishes with an interesting grape at the low end of the price scale.
Verdelho was once an important grape in the production of Madeira, but it is rarely found on the island now. Instead, it has, since the mid-19th Century, found a home in Australia, producing crisp, spicy white wines.
The d’Arenberg “The Stump Jump” — the nickname refers to a type of plow — Verdelho 2008 is delicate and attractive, with aromas of pink grapefruit, honeydew melon and pear wreathed with scents of jasmine and honeysuckle. Flavors of yellow plum and roasted peach are nestled in a texture that balances moderate lushness with tingling acidity. As a few moments pass, the aromas and flavors gain intensity and resonance, and the floral and spicy elements increase; the wine’s mineral quality comes to the fore, adding weight, depth and a hint of astringency to the finish. Fifty percent of the wine aged six months in seasoned, that is, used, oak casks (not French barriques), contributing to the wine’s spicy and slightly smoky nature. In short, this wine begins in a simple and fairly lighthearted manner, but fills out and gains some measure of character and complexity, without, however, losing its footing in pure delightful deliciousness. Very Good+. About $11, a Phenomenal Bargain.
Imported by Old Bridge Cellars, Napa, Cal.