Classic aromas of Petit Verdot are: Blackberry, Blackberry Jam, Black Plum, Raisins and Leather
Petit Verdot is a red grape variety that hails from Bordeaux. It was first mentioned in Bordeaux in 1736, which is still the home to a large majority of the world’s supply of Petit Verdot.
As with many grapes this is almost exclusively cultivated in Bordeaux where it is one of the five grapes that make up the famous ‘Bordeaux’ blend. It is used as a colouring agent as well as adding tannin and acidity to the wines. In present day Petit Verdot is just a minor supporter in these famous wines yet records show that in the 19th century the opposite was the case, with Petit Verdot once making up the majority of plantings across Bordeaux. Today there are a mere 862ha across France and 526ha in the Bordeaux region.
Petit Verdot does have a history of being in these ‘Bordeaux’ blends so it is often planted in small amount around the world for winemakers to attempt to boost up the colour and flavour in their Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blends. In recent years winemakers across California, in particular, are finding that Petit Verdot is a fantastic varietal for solo wines. In regions such as California, Long Island and Magaret River in Australia, there are some incredible single varietal bottlings.
Paul Pontallier, of Chateau Margaux, used to describe his Petit Verdot as having a banana aroma when young, and developing violet aromas later.
Petit Verdot produces wines that are high in tannin, alcohol and colour. They have a powerful aroma that is rich in black fruit flavours of plums, cherries, currants, blackberry and prunes as well as violets and lavender. The oak maturing will give wines with highlights of chocolate, coffee and baking spices. With maturity, Petit Verdot will give more dried fruit flavours as well as giving treacle and leather.