Petit Verdot: A little known, but essential variety



Our illustrious stranger might not be at the center of the ampelographic universe, but the variety possesses certain physiological and organoleptic properties that are promising for winemakers determined to tackle the challenges of climate change. Petit Verdot also makes a significant contribution to the complexity of fine red blends in Bordeaux and throughout the Mediterranean. The variety really shines in the company of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

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Petit Verdot plays a sublime supporting role—a little known, but essential variety in light of a frightening climate scenario:

When it comes to annual average temperature, 2014 broke all records... 2015 and 2016 followed suit... and everything points to 2017 continuing this dramatic rise in record highs.

From Bordeaux to the world

  • Mainly grown in the French region of Medoc and to a lesser extent in Chile, California, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Malta...

Petit Verdot has very interesting characteristics from a vinification standpoint. This is due to its aromatic intensity, excellent tannins, pigment, and thick skin that makes the grape more resistant to the high temperatures common to warm climates like that of our—(its)—home, the Penedès wine region.

  • Petit Verdot (which roughly translates to “little green one”) owes its name to the fact that it is a late-ripening, warm climate variety. In Bordeaux, the grapes often hadn’t reached full maturity at harvest time. This is why Petit Verdot only makes up 2{483e5444ab9fc06e19ac83efe1d2198bc64dd97b6326f9ee3936c7b95b1cf489} of the Bordeaux blend, just enough to add tannins, color and the distinctive herbaceous hints that characterize the variety.
  • Petit Verdot is a variety with physiological traits that include grouped clusters comprised of small, cylindrical and very compact berries. The grape does well in deep soils and is usually trellised.
  • The little star of our story is susceptible to pests like downy mildew and vulnerable to spring frosts brought on by strong northerly winds.
  • Recent genetic analyses have revealed that the variety descends from the ancestral Tressot Noir, indigenous to Bordeaux, which could be considered its parent.

Petit Verdot, the Wines

The organoleptic characteristics of Petit Verdot wines vary according to where the grapes are grown geographically and the climatic context. This means that when the variety is grown in warm climates like that of the Penedès region, Petit Verdot develops a wide range of highly characteristic aromas and flavors:

  • The variety imparts aromas of black fruit, plums and flowers like violets, lilacs and laven
  • Petit Verdot wines are often partially oak aged to soften their pronounced green herbaceous notes, reminiscent of Monastrell. Doing so brings out dried fruit and vanilla notes against a mature, seductive mocha backdrop.
  • The palate is full-bodied, with good acidity and remarkable tannins and fruit con

 Jean Leon 3055

  • This is the first Merlot-Petit Verdot blend produced in the Penedès region.
  • A fresh, aromatic and versatile organic wine that complements the most innovative and modern gastronomic trends.
  • It is an intense, bright purplish red in color. A splendid example of abundant ripe fruit that, combined with excellent acidity and more than respectable alcohol content, yields a solid backbone to sustain the most melodramatic notes of a Merlot still brimming with the irresistible, insolent and sassy intensity of youth. A combination of balance and maturity that is, once again, essential.
  • The nose offers deep hints of cherry, red fruit, plums and blackberries in a spicy embrace of aging aromas. A seductive sensuous dance that culminates in a hedonistic reverie reminiscent of caramel, vanilla and coffee. A grown-up pleasure with gentle flourishes of partial oak aging that stir the senses.
  • On the palate, it seems to last forever. Concentrated, big, mouthfilling, its generous tannins, carried by a backbone of acidity, give way to a mature finish that lingers and leaves one eager for more.

Let's trust this grape. We need it. We like it, we understand it, and it gives us the very best of itself. Petit Verdot has joined the big Jean Leon family...

...what about you?


Rafa Moreno

Categorías: Wine