Known for its rich, dark fruit flavours, this wine starts with red-skinned grapes. The grapes are typically small in size with thick skins. Petit Verdot is most commonly used in Bordeaux-style blends to add flavour and colour. Its origins are hard to trace, but it is believed to date back as far as 18th century France.
Petit Verdot typically has black cherry, plum and blackberry flavours. It usually has high tannins and density, producing a colour that ranges from dark violet to almost black. Typically, once blended, Petit Verdot is hard to detect, however wines with a higher percentage of the grape will have aromas of vanilla, smoke, spice and cedar.
The grape itself is difficult to cultivate, making it a challenge for winemakers. The grape ripens much later than most other grapes that are used in Bordeaux blends, and its vines require careful handling. Because of this, during the 1960’s, the usage of Petit Verdot in France began to decline. Winemakers preferred the reliability and structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Old and New World regions such as Canada, Australia, and the United States include Petit Verdot in their blends. Because of its high tannins and dark fruit and spice flavours, it pairs with richer dishes like grilled red meats, tomato-based pastas, or aged cheeses.
In summary, Petit Verdot has the following characteristics:
- Red-skinned red wine grape variety
- Grapes are small in size with thick skins
- Typically used in Bordeaux-style blends
- Dates back to 18th century France
- Adds rich, dark fruit flavours such as black cherry, plum, and blueberry
- High tannins with a dark violet colour
- Aromas of vanilla, smoke, spice and cedar
- Difficult to cultivate
- Decline in France in the 1960’s
- Today it is used in blends from countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United States
- Pair with rich dishes that include red meat, tomato-based pastas, or aged cheeses