Why You Should Be Drinking Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is a red grape that was traditionally reserved as a minor blending grape in the world famous Bordeaux wine blend. However, as the grape has spread to warmer climates, winemakers have realized that Petit Verdot can make intensely bold, fruity-yet-floral, red wines that can and do easily stand on their own.

Petit Verdot Grapes Illustrated Taste Profile by Wine Folly
Petit Verdot is a late-ripening grape, and this might be the primary reason why it never really had any sort of resurgence until recently. In France, where it originates, the seasons were too short to fully ripen the tannins found in the seeds and skins. This would lead to a wine with bitter-tasting or “green” flavors and thus, winemakers chose to use it in very small amounts, just to add color to wines. Most red blends from Bordeaux only use about 1–2% Petit Verdot, if any at all. However, as the popularity of the Bordeaux blend spread around the world and into places like Spain, California, and Australia, the grape behaved differently!

  • In cooler climates like in France, Petit Verdot usually offers flavors of dried herbs and tart blueberry or unripe blackberry.
  • In warmer climates like in Spain, Petit Verdot will often have flavors of blueberry sauce, jamminess, and candied violets.

Spain Petit Verdot Wine Taste examples

Try a Single-Varietal Petit Verdot

By trying a single-varietal expression of Petit Verdot, you can start to gain an appreciation for what it adds to a red blend. There are a few regions to look into that offer Petit Verdot as a single-varietal wine:

Spain

The regions of Mentrida, Jumilla, Almansa, and the encompassing region of Castilla-La Mancha make some very captivating Petit Verdot.

See a list of Spanish Petit Verdot producers on wine-searcher

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Australia

There are a great many single-varietal Petit Verdot wines coming from South Australia and great examples can be found in and around Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

See a list of Australian Petit Verdot producers on wine-searcher

California

California contains the great majority of Petit Verdot these days, although Washington State’s high desert climate has also shown to be an excellent place for this wine.

See a list of US Petit Verdot producers on wine-searcher

Chile

In a country devoted to Bordeaux blends, it seems logical that there are also some excellent Petit Verdot wines to be found in Chile as well. The Maipo, Aconcagua and Colchagua Valleys are all great places to look.

See a list of Chile Petit Verdot producers on wine-searcher


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About Madeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly