The Portuguese varietal Verdelho is one of the wine world’s best-kept secrets in white wine, known not just for the sweet wines of Madeira, but increasingly in mainland Portugal, much of which, frankly, looks like Amador County. Verdelho produces wines with ravishing lime blossom and tropical aromas like pineapple and kumquat, with a rich, fulfilling mouth-feel. It came to California as the main variety in premium white port, but it is now re-born as a zesty, layered, dry and crisp table wine like this fine example, farmed by Jeff Runquist in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County.
Randle Johnson has been making wine in the Napa Valley for 35 years, and is currently a winemaker at Hess Collection. Calafia Cellars is the “home winery” and labor of love for Randle and his wife MaryLee. The name “Calafia” refers to a mythical Amazon queen of the West Indies from a 1503 Spanish novel. When Cortez landed in Baja in 1513, he called it “Calafia’s Land,” which eventually became… California!