Petit Verdot is a full-bodied red wine that was born in the Bordeaux region of France. It’s one of the most desirable grapes for red Bordeaux blends, mainly due to its rich colour, tannin and violet aromas. Petit Verdot is a very bold wine, so it’s hardly ever added to more than 10% of wine blends. Although it’s rarely produced as a single-varietal wine, there are a few Petit Verdot producers in countries such as Spain, Chile, Australia and the United States/
The grape is a warm climate, late-ripening variety. In Bordeaux, where the temperatures are mild, this meant harvesting the grapes before they were fully ripe. As a result, the grapes stayed a little green. Petit Verdot was added to blends in small amounts, making up just 1-2% of the Bordeaux blend, in order to add some colour and structure. Bordeaux winemakers always favoured the early ripening grape varieties of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, without caring as much about Petit Verdot.
When it was planted in the warm climate zones of Spain, Australia and California, the grapevine showed its true potential. As a result, you can find some amazing wines coming from outside of Petit Verdot’s homeland. Petit Verdot red wines offer ethereal aromas of black fruit flavours, from plum, blueberry and blackberry to lighter black cherry. On top of that, you can clearly distinguish the floral notes of violet, lavender, lilac and sage. Most Petit Verdot producers also age the wine in oak to soften it and add just a touch of vanilla, mocha and hazelnut.
On the palate, Petit Verdot is dry, full-bodied, with a high tannin content and medium-high acidity. A handful of producers, mostly in Australia, produce the wine a tiny bit lighter and softer, with a smoother tannin. The grape offers flavours of tart blueberry or unripe blackberry and dried herb when planted in colder climates. In warmer climates, on the other hand, the grape will carry much smoother and fruitier flavours of candied violets, blueberry sauce and jam.
If you’d like to try the wine, buy a bottle of Petit Verdot in the ZYN liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or shop online at ZYN.ca!