Petit Verdot, one of the five red Bordeaux varietals is rarely produced as a single varietal. It is most often used in blends, to add color, and structure as well as some of its natural dark fruity notes. Here in Virginia there is a producer that is making it as a single varietal and doing a damn good job of it. I wrote about Glen Manor vineyards a while back after I visited their brand new tasting room and met Jeff White, the winemaker and owner. For those who didn’t know, Jeff’s grapes were behind the excellent vineyard designated wines (Glen Manor Red) that were produced by Jim Law at Linden Vineyards for several years. Jeff is on his own now, and of his first bottlings the 2005 Petit Verdot is stellar. Petit Verdot is generally a late ripening grape, which makes it even more amazing that a Virginia vineyard can produce it so well.
Megan and I sat down last night with some of our homemade veggie pizza and opened one of the bottles we picked up back in May. The color is simply amazing, dark purple that fades to magenta at the edges, reminding you of a young Zinfandel. Jeff provides some great info on the vintage as well as the winemaking process for this wine, so rather than paraphrase, I just throw it all in.
Vineyard: Located on the west slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, around 1,100 feet above sea level. This planting consists of .6 acre of 8 year old vines growing in deep and well drained soils, (Myersville/Catoctin). The vines are cordon trained and spur pruned to the Geneva Double Curtain trellising system.
Vintage: This was a classic Virginia vintage with normal rainfall, sunshine and temperatures. Spring began cool which delayed bud break and summer also started rather cool but gradually warmed to normal Virginia summertime temperatures. Just in time for verasion and ripening, August was hot and dry, followed by a dry September and near dry October. In early October the remnants of hurricane Tammy left 4.5 inches of rain. After about two weeks, the vineyard dried, the grapes were harvested on October 21, 2005.
Winemaking: The grapes were hand picked and then double sorted, (pre-destemming and post-destemming), to remove unripe pink berries and stem fragments. Fermentation began naturally in small one ton bins and punch downs occurred one to two times per day. Pressing took place about 7 to 10 days later, before fermentation had finished. This wine aged in new and old French, Hungarian and Virginia oak barrels for 28 months. Unfined and unfiltered, it is 100% Petit Verdot. 73 cases produced. Best, 2010 through 2015.
Nose – Blackberry, pine, tar, blueberry pie, hint of prune
Taste – Sweet cedar, black currant, leather, smoke
Mouthfeel – Medium to fuller bodied, smooth in the middle but the tannins were nice and fuzzy and the acid levels were perfect with all the rich fruit flavors
Finish – dry and long, with the tannins leaving a nice peach fuzz feeling on the tounge and cheeks. Notes of pine and blackberry lingered on for a while.
My wife made the comment, “wow, I can’t believe this came from Virginia.” Not that we both haven’t had wines we loved from Virginia, there are many, this was just truly great. Excellent rich and full mouthfeel, loads of dark fruit, and structure that shows the aging potential of the wine. This was great with our pizza, but you meet lovers could put this with some nice lamb or roast beef and I think it would pair beautifully.
Personally I can’t wait for Glen Manor to release their next wines, I believe a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are up for their next vintage.