What to drink this week

Petit Ver­dot

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

This is a grape you don’t of­ten hear about, at least as a sin­gle va­ri­etal, al­though my learned read­ers will be well aware that it’s al­ways been a blend­ing com­po­nent on the Left Bank in Bordeaux. It’s in­cluded in small pro­por­tions in some of the great­est châteaux. Petit Ver­dot was on the de­cline for most of the 20th cen­tury, prob­a­bly be­cause of its in­con­ve­nient habit of ripen­ing late— as much as two weeks later than Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon. How­ever, it’s now very much on the up—per­haps for the same rea­son (with global warm­ing, late ripen­ing can be an ad­van­tage)—and not just in Bordeaux, but also in the USA, South Africa, Aus­tralia, Chile, Ar­gentina and the Languedoc.

These de­li­cious reds are packed with char­ac­ter, spici­ness and live­li­ness, cheers Harry Eyres

Why you should be drink­ing it

Petit Ver­dot pro­duces deep-coloured, Bordeaux-style red wines of great char­ac­ter, spici­ness and live­li­ness. When slightly un­ripe, the char­ac­ter can be on the prickly side, but ripe Petit Ver­dot, in my view, is de­li­cious, bristly fresh, perky and not lack­ing rich­ness.

What to drink

A good in­tro­duc­tion to the grape is pro­vided by KWV The Men­tors Petit Ver­dot 2014 (be­low, £14.95; www.slurp.co.uk) from South Africa— it’s deep-pur­ple coloured, fresh and minty on the nose, with at­trac­tive ripe fruit. Curis Petit Ver­dot Grand Re­serve 2015 (£14.99; www. ad­nams.co.uk) from the Curico Val­ley in Chile has a vivid, bright nose, then black­cur­rant ripeness and is quite full-bod­ied. The Mon­teti 2012 from Tenuta Mon­teti (£28.50; www. leaand­sande­man.co.uk) in south­ern Tus­cany is 55% Petit Ver­dot, 25% Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and 20% Caber­net Franc; it’s bright and bushy-tailed on the nose, then beau­ti­fully bal­anced and civilised on the palate.

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