Petit Verdot with Strong Tannins
Despite its name - the ‘little green’ - Petit Verdot is anything but slight. The thick-skinned grapes make for a vivid acidity and strong tannins during the fermentation process. Not without good reason, some people therefore compare the grape with the great Cabernet Sauvignon, known for strong and rich red wines. The colour of Petit Verdot wines is mostly very vibrant and dark. In their taste, in many vintages the wine features spicy notes. Stored correctly, the wines keep for some years, a clear indication for a wine high in quality.
Petit Verdot and its Difficult Cultivation
The qualitative features of a Petit Verdot are undisputable. Especially amongst winemakers who attach importance to producing premium wines, this grape variety enjoys growing popularity again. A variety of wineries still prefer other vines though, as Petit Verdot is highly demanding. The grapes need much light and ripen slowly, hence winemakers can only harvest late in the year. This is why in the great wine nation France, at some point merely 300 hectares had been planted with this vine. It is not much more today, at least in France. It took some time until Petit Verdot established in Australia, but especially the ‘Riverland’ is known for excellent wines from this grape nowadays. The hot climatic conditions seem to be made for it.
Petit Verdot in South Africa
In South Africa also, some winemakers have noticed the great potential of Petit Verdot and started using the grape specifically. The warm climate, soils rich in minerals and plenty of sun deliver good conditions similar to the Australian Riverland. Additionally, modern cellar technology allowed for harmonising the blends in a way that every grape variety can contribute its typical features. In South African red wines, the grape is mostly found in cuvees. These can originate from various levels. Easy-drinking wines for the daily life as well as absolute premium wines for a special occasion benefit from an addition of Petit Verdot. Cuvees with Petit Verdot are strong wines which feature a dark colour and noticeable tannins; their vivacity is yet always integrated in the fruity overall impression.