Petit Verdot is a red-wine grape whose small, thick-skinned berries are valued for their depth of color. Traditionally the variety has played a small role in the classic blends of Bordeaux, but varietal Petit Verdot wines are now appearing in many regions of southern Europe, the Americas and Australia.
The name Petit Verdot is particularly descriptive of the varietals characteristics.
The first half is relatively simple, and indicates the small (petit) size of the grape berries. It is clearly contrasted in this regard with its larger-berried cousin, Gros Verdot. The verdot part is a little less obvious. It translates roughly as green one, and reflects the varietals propensity to under-ripeness; in cool seasons Petit Verdot vines produce bunches speckled with green, unripened berries.
Due to the high levels of anthocyanins in the berrys thick skins, Petit Verdot wines tend to have a dense, inky, violet-black appearance. They also have high tannin levels, thanks to the small berries – specifically their high ratio of skin and seeds to juice.
Petit Verdot has been planted more successfully
in hotter regions than its ancestral home of France, in Italy it is planted and
grown in the gravelly dry terrains of Maremma,Toscana, the sandy soils of Lazio
and the adaptable soils of Sicilia. Petit Verdot Grapes
In these parts of Italy Petit Verdot can
thrive much better because of much warmer and dryer conditions, which help the
highly sensitive vines stay healthy and produce consistent harvests. Monovarietal
Petit Verdot bottled in these regions of Italy will bear the IGT label, the
wines tend to be a deep ruby red bordering on purple, have floral notes of
violet, bright berry and spices on the nose, flavors of bright cherry,
blackberry, plum, leather, spices and firm tannins on the palate.