Petite Verdot leaf. Photo licensed from Agne27 at Wikipedia Commons.
Can grapes march to the beat of a different drum? If so, PetitVerdot would. A grape used to add flavor and beautiful, dark color to Bordeaux wines, this grape has not gained recognition worldwide due to its tendency to ripen MUCH later than other varietals. Although its name is “petite,” this wine has very bold qualities: full-bodied, peppery, and spicy, with high alcohol and tannins.
As with many other varietals, the origins of Petit Verdot are unknown. It is generally thought to have been grown before its much more popular Bordeaux counterpart, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bordeaux remains the primary growing region for Petit Verdot, although there are some small plantings in Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, and Italy. In the U.S., the “Meritage” movement (California-style Bordeaux blends) has given rise to more plantings, and the late-ripening (aka, “cold weather resistant”) qualities have made the grape thrive in New York. (Check out this great article about Petit Verdot in New York in the New York Times article.)
Petit Verdot provides the tannic backbone of most wines. It exudes violet aromas when mature.
It is difficult to find a 100% Petite Verdot wine, but if you do: take caution! Tannins ahead! Keep the experience of drinking a 100% Petite Verdot simple: grill a steak.
Serve Petit Verdot between 60 and 65 degrees.
We love the Petit Verdot from Tomero in Argentina and from Jarvis in Napa Valley.