Today’s Wine of the Week is the 2013 Artezin Verdelho, Amador County Sisney Ranch. Bright fruit, a bit of alcohol (14.5%), and still very much in balance and pairing well with food.

Trust me, it takes longer to say it than it does to sip and really enjoy it. This is one really flavorful wine, which we just enjoyed with a varied mixture of fruits. If you love fish, this one would also work well. For me, it would be a sweet and sour chicken dish that would rank high on my food and wine pairing preferences.

Indigenous to the Madeira Islands of Portugal, planted widely there in 1872, it was eventually promoted to Portugal’s Noble tier. Today, it’s one of Madeira’s four native varieties.

  • Italian name = Verdello
  • Portuguese = Verdello and Verdelho
  • Spanish = Verdello (the double “ll”s take on a “y” sound)

Verdelho is a heat loving grape, which explains a higher level of alcohol, than the usual 12 to 13.5 percent of cooler climate wine grapes. It sits on the vine longer in a warmer area, so that builds the sugar levels, which in turn drives up the alcohol level. Winemakers don’t try to drive up those levels, they just have to wait until the grape – when fermented – will stay in a perfect balance.

It’s always fun to be turned on to another variety that is produced by my PS I Love You members. (My palate is NOT a one-trick pony, even though I also really love Petite Sirah.) If you love white wines with a delicate body and a medley of flavors (citrus, violets, pineapple), this wine should make you very happy.

Winemaker Randall Johnson

Randall Johnson is the winemaker and a long time friendly colleague of mine. It’s with great joy that I got to taste and enjoy this one. I was first introduced to the “Artezin” series with their Petite Sirah. Founding and heading up the PS I love You group has been a real learning curve for me: Who does what, where, and when. Randall has always been a great supporter.


  • Native Californian
  • Attended the University of California at Davis and graduated with an M.S. in Viticulture in 1974.
  • Viticulturist for the original Souverain Winery in Rutherford. Later, he became Assistant Winemaker, under the guidance of Souverain Winemaker Phil Baxter.
  • Became the Vineyard Manager and Cellar Master for Mayacamas Vineyards.
  • Took a position as Winemaker at Stags’ Leap Winery.
  • Started as Winemaker for The Hess Collection in 1983, when Donald Hess set aside a portion of the grapes from his Mount Veeder vineyards for his own premium wine label. Since then, Randall has continued to hone and refine his winemaking style to create elegant wines with great complexity, depth and structure.
  • He’s also a global, consulting winemaker: Bodega Colomé́ and Bodega Amalaya, both in Argentina.