Handsome Drinks – Sacramento Valley Verdelho
Dirty Handsome and Pretty Handsome are fortunate enough to live near Silverlake Wine (sic), a very good Los Angeles wine store stocking only small production and unusual wines. While provisioning for our recent Trainzaganza ’08 outing (more on that later), we stumbled upon a bottle of Dancing Coyote’s 2006 Verdelho from Clarksburg on the Sacramento Delta. We immediately bought the bottle, as it had been years since we’d seen a verdelho on shelves this side of the Pacific.
Verdelho is a crisp white grape originally hailing from Madeira in Portugal (Portugo!); it’s dry, citrusy taste is a pitch perfect, very welcome polar opposite to buttery California chardonnays. It’s grown extensively in Australia’s Hunter Valley north of Sydney; in fact, it’s where Dirty Handsome first discovered it, impressed that it had the body to stand up to heavier dishes like kangaroo steak so long as the marinade was seasonally appropriate (warm, late summer months in this case).
The wine also had some sentimental value – two of Dirty Handsome’s very dear friends were married near Clarksburg south of Sacramento in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by friends, family, and the countryside. Naturally, the wedding was celebrated by shotgunning beers in the parking lot, dancing with the mother of the bride, heading to a dive bar in south Sac, and taking home a close relative in the bridal party.
Anyway, having been reminded of my trip to Australia and a wonderful week in Sacramento, we were hooked. The wine was reasonably priced and great for summer dishes – everything from grilled chicken to hummus. The delta’s warm weather, wide open sun, and evening breeze make for the perfect domestic terroir for the grape. The wine industry in the delta is still nascent, so check out a few labels before settling on a favorite. Since it’s local you don’t have to worry about the carbon footprint from flying a bottle of wine halfway around the world.
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