A Wine Transformed - Petit Verdot
In 1984 our vineyard and its vines were just a few years old, and even Virginia as a growing region was itself budding and new. Yet, taken by the potential of our land, we were fast at work developing the wine region to come. Our winemaker in 1984, Gabriele Rausse, who joined us after playing a critical role establishing Barboursville Vineyards, busied himself grafting new vines - many of which were the same varietals Thomas Jefferson himself has grown centuries prior. Among these experimental grafts was Petit Verdot.
Petit Verdot, pronounced “peh-tee vur-doe”, is a bold red wine. Hailing from France’s renowned Bordeaux region, it is one of the five grapes that typically compose the equally legendary Bordeaux blend. A dark and velvety hue in the glass, Petit Verdot is bold and distinguished. Deep fruit aromas like plum, blueberry, and dark cherry on the nose, with herbal flavors on the palate and warm tannins on the finish define this elegant wine. Historically, however, Petit Verdot was rarely showcased on its own.
The name “Petit Verdot” translates loosely to ‘little green one’, due mostly to its late ripening cadence, meaning the grapes were frequently still somewhat green by harvest’s time . Accordingly, it was used in small amounts in blends, added to give tannic structure to the wine, and lend interesting tasting notes like violet or sage . But no longer is Petit Verdot confined to a supporting role.
In 2001, Jefferson Vineyards was among the first Virginian vineyards to bottle a single varietal Petit Verdot. Two decades later, single varietal Petit Verdot maintains a place amongst our portfolio’s darlings. We showcase Petit Verdot as a single varietal wine, celebrated its strengths as a blending grape, and have used it as the foundation for many of our beloved Meritage blends (a new world take on the old world Bordeaux blend). Each iteration highlights the strength of this special varietal and we are humbled by the accolades we have collected for our Petit Verdot over the years.
How apt a varietal for October, a transitional season between Fall and Winter, then a varietal which itself has been transformed. Deep, velvety, and warm, Petit Verdot no longer is found listed only in the blend’s composition. It, as a single varietal wine, has shaped our trajectory for decades and has come to be celebrated as defining Virginian wine.
This October, we celebrate a grape that, though it is one of the last we harvested, is well worth the wait. Enjoy our oldest Petit Verdot as a single varietal, Petit Verdot 2016, with a bouquet of vanilla and caramel on the nose, coffee and berry flavors on the palate, and a warm, lingering finish with hints of cherry. Our 2018 Petit Verdot vintage opens with dried red fruit and hints of tobacco on the nose, the palate is smooth and integrated with vibrant fruit and black tea flavors, before a bright acidic finish with raspberry and sandy tannins. Or, enjoy a newer vintage - our 2019 Petit Verdot has dried fruit and oak on the nose, with a vibrant palate of red berry flavors before a bright, lingering finish filled with raspberry notes and warm tannins Alternatively, our 2017 Petit Verdot Reserve is made from only the best fruit. This lovely wine opens with aromas of vanilla and cedar, the palate displays berry, plum, and raisin flavors before tart cherry notes in the finish. Experience each (and more) in our Featured Wines Shop.
 "Guide to Petit Verdot Red Wine". Wine Folly, Wine Folly, 10 Mar. 2016, winefolly.com/deep-dive/guide-to-petit-verdot-red-wine.