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Never tasted a Petit Verdot? You’re not alone. It is unique and seldom seen, more often used to add complexity to a Cabernet or Bordeaux style blend. There are only 2,103 bearing acres (compared to 76,691 of Cabernet Sauvignon) of it out of a total vineyard acreage of 459,187 in California (2012 report)
According to state ag records in 1990 when we first planted Petit Verdot there were 45 bearing acres of it as compared to 23,069 of Cabernet Sauvignon. We honestly hadn't even been able to taste one. Our intent was to follow the Bordeaux tradition where it's used in the region's famous red blends to add dark violet color, stouter tannins and impart concentrated fruit flavor on the palate.
After A Seven Year Wait - We "Did A 180"
With a year of planning, then four years after planting for the vines to produce a commercial crop, followed by two years in the barrels, we finally got to taste our own Rennie Vineyard Petit Verdot. We then tacked and decided to produce the Petit Verdot as a single varietal. This is now our 15th consecutive vintage.
There continues to be very few Petit Verdot wines produced in California. This vintage has attractive fragrant aromas of licorice and cloves and flavors of cranberry and red currants that help make us like it with game dishes; for example: duck breast, rabbit pate or venison. It also is a great match with barbecued food or more hearty dishes. Regardless, you can count yourself among the tiny minority of wine drinkers who have had the pleasure of tasting a Petit Verdot varietal wine.
Review from Tastings.com (Beverage Tasting Institute, Chicago):
93 pts GOLD • Yorkville Cellars 2013 Rennie Vineyard, Petit Verdot, Yorkville Highlands
"Black ruby color. Attractive aromas of chocolate covered peanuts and berry cobbler with a silky, lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-long spiced cherries, cedar, and floral honey finish with crunchy, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A delicious, broad-shouldered red that will be great with spicy meat dishes."
After a careful field selection and harvested on Oct 22nd, grapes were gently crushed and put in open top fermenters, where they received three days of cold soak. The grapes were gently crushed, and cold soaked for three days before inoculation with Prise de Mousse yeast. Fermentation was held at a constant 80°F for 10 days and then the wine was gently pressed and racked to French oak barrels for aging. After 17 months the wines were settled, fined, and gently filtered before bottling. Lovely now, or hold up to 4 to 7 years.
Total Acidity: 6.0 gm/ liter
Residual Sugar: Dry
Fewer than 700 cases produced