Petit Verdot is traditionally used in blended wines, like the famous Bordeaux. It gives the wine a dark ruby tinge, along with a spicy floral aroma. As a single varietal wine, Petit Verdot is best described as massive and brooding.
If you are a fan of fruity wines, you won’t like Petit Verdot. With this wine you get lots of aromas of Cigar Box, Pencil Shavings, Violet, Sage, Cellar Floor, Leather and Smoke. Some people detect a bit of fruit (the more the wine is aged in oak, the more the fruit flavours fade), but more often than not, banana and mint come through. The flavours mirror this aroma, while contributing pepper and spice to the palate.
Petit Verdot and BBQ Sausage and Hamburgers
This is a wine that demands hearty meat dishes or aged cheeses. Barbecued Lamb Chops, Veal Stew, Sausage, Roasted Duck, or Pork Spare Ribs will all pair well. This wine is highly tannic, and thus needs a lot of fat and protein when it is young. Any red meat barbecued is a great choice with Petit Verdot as you get the bitterness of the charred meat complementing the bitter earth flavours found in the wine. As such, we love this wine with simple ground beef burgers.
Petit Verdot and Vegetable Pairings
Similarly, Petit Verdot is excellent with earthy and/or bitter veggies such as grilled portabello mushrooms, shitake, grilled eggplant, black olives, onions and kidney beans.
Why is Petit Verdot Rare?
Not much has been written about Petit Verdot and food pairings. It is a finicky grape that requires specific conditions to ripen, starting with the correct weather in spring for the vines to flower. As such, Petit Verdot single varietals are more common if the yield is good, and may not exist other years if the growing conditions are poor. Petit Verdot also roughly translates to ‘little green one’ as it’s late to develop in the growing season. This slow growing quality is another reason why single varietal bottles are rare.
Where is Petit Verdot Grown?
Single varietal Petit Verdot, tends to be more common in the new world, such as Spain (here the wine tends to be more tannin based – so be sure to decant), Australia (a fruitier and softer style of Petit Verdot), Argentina, Chile(has an herbaceous edge), and California (often softer tannin with vanilla overtones due to oak aging). You may find the occasional bottle in France or Italy, but the grapes tend to be reserved for Bordeaux or Super Tuscan respectively. Single varietal Petit Verdot from Italy tend to be earthier.