Petit Verdot is a minor player in the big business of red Bordeaux Blend wines. The grape variety is named after its petite, intensely colored berries (typically used in minute proportions to add depth of color to blended red wines) and Verdot, meaning green, in reference to its propensity to under-ripeness. Relatively few varietal Petit Verdot wines are produced worldwide, but the numbers are slowly increasing in areas of Spain, Italy, Australia, and North and South America.
In the 1960s, Bordeaux signaled a changing of the viticultural guard and many Petit Verdot vines were uprooted. Firstly, drinking fashions were changing and although red wine had become more popular, attention was focused on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Moreover, Petit Verdot ripens very late in the season, which made it a liability in poor vintages. However a resurgence in the 1980s in California and Australia led to increased interest in the forgotten variety, as producers started experimenting with it in new environments. (© Proprietary Content, Wine-Searcher)
Petit Verdot berries are small in size (as opposed to its less illustrious cousin, Gros Verdot) with thick skins and a dark pigment. The thick skins give the variety a strong resistance to rot and disease, as well as imparting good levels of tannin to the resulting wine.
Varietal wines made from Petit Verdot are purple and inky in color, but can struggle to achieve maturity in less than perfect vintages. At its best, it can be an elegant wine, capable of aging for many years.
Synonyms include: Petit Verdau, Verdot.
Related grape varieties: Gros Verdot.
Food matches include:
Europe: Austurian bean stew (fabada); Milanese-style risotto (risotta alla Milanese)
Asia: Deep-fried pork on rice (katsudon)
Americas: Lentil soup with smoked ham hock; Peruvian stuffed pepper (rocoto relleno)
Australasia/Oceania: Barbecued kangaroo with caramelized onion
Africa/Middle East: Middle Eastern lentil soup (shorbat adas) (still)