What to drink this week
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.