Petit Verdot wine grape
The least-known and least-planted of the red Bordeaux varieties, Petit Verdot is a low-yielding grape which struggles to ripen in Bordeaux’s climate. Despite those disadvantages it is valued for its colour and aromatic intensity even though it only constitutes a few percent of the blend.
Petit Verdot means "small green", referring to its tendency to
: where poor weather during flowering (it flowers dangerously early) causes some grapes to fail to develop, remaining unripe, green and tiny.
It’s an ancient grape that in pre-phylloxera times was an important component of the Bordeaux blend, but its role has largely been usurped by the relative newcomer Cabernet Sauvignon. Its small, thick-skinned grapes in their loosely-packed clusters are resistant to rot, which was a vital advantage in Bordeaux’s maritime climate before chemical sprays were developed.
It travelled early to Australia, and there is far more of it there than in France. The warmer climates of the Barossa and the Hunter Valley suit it rather better than Bordeaux’s. California and Argentina also have significant plantings, though in all these regions it is generally used as a small component in a Bordeaux-style blend. Varietal wines are rare.
Back in Europe it is grown with some success in the Alentejo region of Portugal, and in Sicily.
Its wine is characterised by deep colour, firm tannins, and intense aromas likened to violets and leather.
Decanting Club wines containing: Petit Verdot
From Sicily, Italy
Costanza di Mineo, Cor Leon, Petit Verdot
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