I totally love Petit Manseng and Petit Verdot grown in Virginia! Apparently, so does Wine Enthusiast magazine, because they just wrote about them!
What stood out for me in this article is the way they note verdot is usually used for blending, but is now on the rise as a single varietal because of the way VA is producing it, and the characteristics it takes on here.
While its popularity has declined in France, Petit Verdot from Virginia has proved to be an impressive variety. It is able to reach full phenolic ripeness in warm climates, which results in a deep, brooding wine. Varietal bottlings have gained momentum in many warm climates like Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia and Chile.
In Virginia, Petit Verdot occupies the place Cabernet Sauvignon does in many other regions. Regional growing conditions aren’t conducive to Cabernet, but local markets still had demand for a bigger East Coast red.
I totally agree – Petit Verdot is the big bold badboy wine that’s strong and should inspire fear and respect. It’s a big grape, one that at first sip is strong and bold with fruit and earthiness that then settles into this long pleasant deep dark rich experience as it goes across your tongue. I agree with one winemaker who said the more you sip it, the more you really get to taste the complexity of it and enjoy it.
While I thoroughly enjoy it as part of a blend, I really respect it as a single varietal. I was a little disappointed to see how limited their list of recommended Petit Verdot labels was, all central Virginia – they didn’t venture into Northern Virginia (although they mentioned that one winery was growing 5 acres of it in Winchester).
I favor three bottles:
Arterra (2015 or 2016)
Two Twisted Posts (2015)
and Chateau O’Brien (2012 is the most current release I have….)
for the strength of the Petit Verdot. Since I have a stash from all three wineries, I’m gonna have to do some PV comparison tasting and writing. Who’s up for the challenge? 🙂