The Envy of Bordeaux

6.19.13-Petit-VerdotOur 2010 Petit Verdot is a luscious, full-bodied, full-flavored, fruit-driven, aromatic, 100% varietal wine that would pair fantastically with a simply grilled, marbled ribeye steak (I like mine with a little salt, pepper, some olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar on a bed of wild arugula).

Petit Verdot is one of the lesser known, and lesser used, Bordeaux grapes. Its primary function is to enhance the red wines of the Medoc with color and exotic perfume. But because Petit Verdot is the last of the Bordeaux grapes to ripen, it is rarely used at all and is essentially non-existent on the Right Bank.

Consider that grapes are chosen not just for their performance in varying soil types but also as a form of insurance for winegrowers in adverse weather conditions. Merlot, the most planted grape in Bordeaux, is the first to ripen and grows well in the clay-based soils of the Right Bank because they tame its natural vigor. However, in rough years, Merlot can fall victim to late spring frost.

Cabernet Sauvignon ripens later and grows more successfully in the well-drained gravel soils of the Medoc where its roots can dig deep and the scarcity of water promotes more concentrated fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon may, however, fall victim to heavy fall rains after Merlot has been safely harvested. With this in mind it’s a wonder the late-ripening Petit Verdot gets used at all, if it weren’t for its bedazzling personality.

Santa Barbara County is not just blessed with the longest growing season in California, but one of the longest in the world. Bringing a late-ripening grape such as Petit Verdot to fruition is no problem at all. Come in to the tasting room and reap the benefits of our fabulous terroir and experience something the French have to turn to us for.

Carlos Mascherin-Fossek, CS – Santa Barbara Winery
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