Bordeaux Thoroughbred, Working Hard around the World
Petit Verdot is one of Bordeaux’s classic red wine varieties, but despite its fame plantings remain pretty limited.
Petit Verdot needs warmer temperatures to ripen fully. In the past that used to mean it would only perform well in the best vintages, however with global warming Petit Verdot is ripening much more consistently and plantings are increasing.
Petit Verdot is renowned for its concentrated black fruits of bramble, black cherry and dark plums, as well as its pepper and liquorice spice.
In the past it’s been seen as the salt and pepper that adds the final kick of flavour to Bordeaux blends. Now ripening much more readily as the planet warms, varietal Petit Verdot is showing off ripe floral aromas of violet and sage.
Petit Verdot is usually made into a red table wine, usually as part of a blend. It is, however, increasingly easy to get hold of an elegant bottle of varietal Petit Verdot.
Petit Verdot is one of the last of the Bordeaux varieties to ripen, but its thick skins mean that rot is much less of a worry than with the likes of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
When fully ripe, Petit Verdot offers concentrated black fruits, and plenty of colour and tannin from those thick skins making a full-bodied and wine with medium acidity.
Big tannin, big body, concentrated spicy fruit and perfect for barbecues with sticky glazes galore.
Grown mostly across the warmer parts of the Médoc, whose gravel soils absorb and reflect the sun’s heat to help Petit Verdot ripen.
Following trials by KWV (a winemaking cooperative in the Western Cape dating back to 1918), varietal Petit Verdot is making big inroads in South Africa’s luxury wine conscience.
Petit Verdot is grown in California, mostly in Napa and Sonoma, as part of meritage (Bordeaux) blends.
Petit Verdot is grown to an extent in the irrigated river lands of Australia to produce ripe fruit for blending, but often with little finesse. That said, single varietals from the Calchaquí valley are beginning to accrue considerably acclaim.
In South America, Petit Verdot is grown interchangeably with Gros Verdot for red blends in Chile and Argentina.