(Petit Verdot pronunciation: Peh-TEET Verh-doh)
Petit Verdot is a small, deep-colored, thick-skinned, and late-ripening grape variety that originated in southwestern France. In the cooler climate of France, the Petit Verdot grape behaves somewhat poorly, not fully ripening by the time of harvest. In fact, the behavior of the grape is how it gets the name Petit Verdot, translating to, “a little green,” which represents the under-ripeness when harvested.
Although highly desired for blending in red Bordeaux wines due to its deep purple color, tannins, and floral aromas of violet, the grape only makes up about one to two percent of the blend. For red Bordeaux wines, Petit Verdot is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. Aside from France, the Petit Verdot grape is now appearing in regions of Australia, Chile, Spain, California, and Washington State as its own variety rather than a small portion of a blend. The warmer climate in these regions allows the grape to fully ripen before it is harvested.
This bold red wine can range in flavor and aroma depending on the climate it is grown in. France’s cool climate produces flavors of dried herbs, unripe blackberries, and tart blueberries from the Petit Verdot grape. The warmer climates in Australia, and parts of America and southern Europe yield jam-like flavors of blueberry sauce and violets. As a whole the wine is dry and full-bodied, with high tannic properties and a medium-high acidity. Winemakers rely on oak-aging to soften the wine and add notes of hazelnut and vanilla. Great Petit Verdot aromas consist of violet, lilac, plum, and sage. For food, Petit Verdot pairs best with meals containing weight, protein, and fat. Some Petit Verdot food pairing examples are rich cuts of red meats, well-aged cheese, barbecue, beef stew, or a rack of lamb.
This great little blending grape has appeared in nearly all of our 6 wine clubs at one point or another, supporting and rounding out the flavor and structure of amazing wines. Join one of our wine subscription boxes and discover new and different wines in each and every shipment!