2019 Birdhorse Wines Borden Ranch Verdelho
Region: Lodi < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: CCOF-certified organic farming; red clay-loam soils; neutral barrel fermentation and aging; bottled unfined/uniltered with minimal So2; 13.5% ABV.
Winemakers: Corinne Rich + Katie Rouse
We were stoked to discover Birdhouse, a small project from the delightful Oakland-based couple Corinne and Katie. They met while working harvest in South Africa, and decided to make their own wine back home, naming their label Birdhorse after a few beers. I'm still not sure what it means, but it's cute. Anyways, the ladies are over the trend of using international varietals in California, and have instead focused on sourcing esoteric grapes better suited to the warm climate. And good farming practices are a priority in choosing vineyard partners.
Like the CCOF-certified Borden Ranch of Lodi, in the shadows of the Sierra Mountains, from which this Verdelho hails. Burgundy Chardonnay fans (specifically of the Mâcon appellation) rejoice, as this borders on a richer, rounder white, with loads of minerality and golden, tropical fruit. But don't expect oaky. It smells sunny and bright, like a brioche on a warm summer morning, but the palate is more serious: densely textured, with a chalky minerality, ripe golden apple, pineapple and mango, and racy acidity. This wine will certainly age, if you’re into that sort of thing. But it's delightful now, especially with food.