Petit Verdot is a blending grape known for giving a beautiful, dark color to wines and adding depth and intensity… but understanding exactly how the wine adds these characteristics to a blend is difficult when you haven’t tasted the variety in its pure form. And finding a 100% Petit Verdot to do so is incredibly difficult: stemming from a long tradition in Bordeaux, France of blending the grape other varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot), the wine is nearly always found blended with these other varietals… even when produced outside of France.
So needless to say, I was ecstatic to find that Argentine winemaker Carlos Pulenta, who owns the Tomero and the Vistalba labels, makes a 100% Petit Verdot. I was even more excited when we discovered that just 500 six packs of this wine were produced. Score! I bought it without hesitation and rushed home to give the wine a try. What I discovered is a wine with a beautiful floral nose, notes of smoke and cinnamon, a lush body, big fruit, blackberry and plum, peppery finish, present and chewy tannins.
Pulenta’s Tomero wines come from the Valle de Uco (Uco Valley), which is 130 km southeast of Mendoza. The grapes are grown at a much higher altitude than the Mendoza wines (the vineyard is 1200 meters above sea level) and–thanks to the lack of rain in lands east of the Andes–the vineyard irrigation is strictly controlled. This results in vines with grapes that have highly concentrated flavors (as opposed to the somewhat watery grapes of over-irrigated vineyards) which make beautiful, concentrated wines with big flavors.
I highly recommend the Tomero Petit Verdot. It is a great opportunity to taste the Petit Verdot on its own, thus gaining a better understanding of how the grape contributes to Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends; in addition, it is simply a beautiful wine that we would proudly serve alongside grilled meats, pork tenderloins and heavily-herbed dishes (especially those with thyme and rosemary).
The U.S. importer Southern Wines currently has the wine in stock for just $21.99 per bottle.
Want to learn a little bit more about Argentine wines and their major wine producing region, Mendoza? Check out our tips on wine tasting in Mendoza and our article on the history of wine in Argentina.