A grape that originated in Bordeaux, France, Petit Verdot translates to “little green one” referring to the fact that it’s a late ripening varietal, especially in cooler climates. Petit Verdot is mainly used as a blending grape, chiefly in Bordeaux blends and Californian Cabernets, as it adds tannic structure, color, and herbaceous notes to the wines. Because of how bold and floral Petit Verdot can be, it’s common that less than 10% of the varietal is used in blends. With tantalizing notes of sage, black cherry, plum, and violet, Petit Verdot is fantastic alongside lamb stew, Manchego, and Portobello mushroom burgers.
Despite Petit Verdot vines being uprooted in France to make way for Merlot and Cabernet Franc varietals, Petit Verdot spans across a little over 7,000 hectares, thriving in warmer climates. While it can be found in various regions, the top four are Spain, Australia, France, and the United States. Single varietal Petit Verdot wines are more common in Spain, where they tend to be opaque in color with notes of black fruit, licorice, and black pepper, and Australia, which are lighter in style with black raspberry, violet, and vanilla notes. Within the USA, California, Washington, and Virginia are typically where Petit Verdot can be found. The wines tend to be more fruit forward with notes of blackberry, sage, and violet, while spending anywhere from 20-30 months in oak adding a slight spiced and vanilla flavor to it.
Looking to indulge? Here are some wines to try:
Grape Photo Credit: Ursula Brühl, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen Institut für Rebenzüchtung Geilweilerhof - 76833 Siebeldingen - GERMANY