Petit Verdot (“peh-tee vur-doe”) is sadly not a very well-known red wine. In this article, we will learn all about this wonderful grape and wine and hopefully start spreading the love for it. Thank you to Wine Folly times two, WinePros.org and TheWineCellarInsider.com for their help with this article.
Origins of Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot is one of the five (or six, depending on how you count) red wine grapes that are allowed to be grown in the Bordeaux region of France. Petit Verdot doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its fellow Bordeaux grapes, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.
Petit Verdot is believed to be the first red wine grape to be planted by the Romans many centuries ago, and it’s thought to be a very ancient grape.
Because it is such a bold wine, it rarely made up more than 10% of most wine blends, and often times much less.
Petit Verdot Today
In France, the seasons are often too short for the grape to fully ripen. When the Petit Verdot grape isn’t ripe enough, the wine tastes bad – bitter and green. This has forced winemakers to use the grape in very small amounts, if at all. So even though the grape was really important in the 1700s, and is still popular in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, it is not a very important grape in Bordeaux today.
In the 1970s, the grape started to thrive in warmer climates, including Spain, Australia and California, where on an increasing basis it is made into standalone wines (rather than blended wines).
Petit Verdot Characteristics
As a blending grape, this varietal adds tannins, color, freshness and herbaceous notes of violet, lilac and sage. It also has a nice level of acidity.
As a standalone wine, you get these qualities, plus black fruit flavors of plum, blackberry and blueberry, along with lighter black cherry. hints of flowers, olives and, believe it or not, pencil lead. The wine is full bodied.
In cooler climates like France, Petit Verdot usually offers flavors of dried herbs and tart blueberry or unripe blackberry.
In warmer climates like California, the variety will often have flavors of blueberry sauce, jamminess, and candied violets.
- Rich meat dishes: This wine pairs beautifully with grilled steak, spicy pork, veal, lamb, all types of game and sausage.
- Cheeses: It pairs beautifully with a range of hard and semi soft cheeses, including Manchego, Stilton, aged gouda and aged cheddar.
- Vegetables: Try this wine with earthy and/or bitter veggies such as grilled portobello mushrooms, grilled eggplant, olives and lentils.
WineShop At Home’s Gemme Petit Verdot
This is an incredibly yummy wine. Here are the tasting notes: Our Gemme Cellars 2016 Petit Verdot was grown in different coastal vineyards of California. There are some smoky and oaky characters in the attack. Many black fruit flavors such as blackberry, black currant and cherry are present in the nose. These aromas are powerful and concentrated. With this 2016 vintage, we already have some maturity in the mouthfeel. Petit Verdot is a dense wine and displays a lot of fruit and tannins in the body. Balance is very well established with a fairly long finish.
If you’d like to try our Petit Verdot, please call me at 650-714-7009 or email me.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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