Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot, the ‘unknown’ Bordeaux grape varietal, where Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the superstars and make up the most of the blend, Cabernet Franc is there to give a bit of acid and Malbec is there to give a little bit more plushness and ripeness to the overall blend. Petit Verdot is seen as the ‘coloring agent’, so it adds a little bit of this rich, ripe red color that it has.

Its name means something like ‘Little Green One’. Petit Verdot is a late-ripening variety, typically hangs green longer than most of the varieties it’s planted within a given region.

Plantings

Besides it’s a Bordeaux grape varietal, you can find it anywhere in the world, like California, especially in places where red wine blends in the Bordeaux style are made like South Africa and Chile. Australia probably has the largest Petit Verdot plantings in the world with around four times as much land under vine to the grape as Bordeaux does. California has about twice as much land under vine than Bordeaux.

Though it’s best known and most widely used as a blender, Petit Verdot is on its own it has this real richness and ripeness to the wines. It usually presents with a dark color, full-body, and tannins that run from the high end of the medium on up. They are often very meaty and juicy in their youth, especially, where you are going to have these really rich black plum, blackberries and boysenberry flavors all juicy and lovely in its youth. And as it ages, it starts to have this real floral note. These violet and lavender flavors coming through with this real coffee, chocolatey, and liquorice note starts to emerge in these wines, especially, as they are aging.

The great thing that Petit Verdot has is its high tannins and its high acid. And this allows it to be able to age on for quite some time.

So if you are looking for a juicy, chunky dry red wine which is good not just now but also has quite an extended cellar aging ability, then Petit Verdot is the wine for you.

Food pairing

What should you drink with your nice bottle of Petit Verdot? It’s a big deep and dense wine so match it up with big deep and dense dark meats or even lighter meats that are heavily seasoned and with vegetable dishes that have a strong umami character like preparations involving lots of mushrooms or slow-roasted root vegetables.

Photo credit: David Köhler