Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gadino Cellars Petit Verdot (2010)

Classic Bordeaux blends are made with five grapes.  Some of those grapes are very well known, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec.  Others are not so well known ... like Petit Verdot. 

The origin of Petit Verdot has been lost to history.  Many believe that the planting, harvesting and use of Petit Verdot in the Bordeaux dates back to the 16th or 17th century, which predates the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon.  However, a look at any shelf in a wine store clearly reveals that Cabernet Sauvignon predominates over Petit Verdot.  This dominance extends far beyond French wines.  Quite frankly, Cabernet Sauvignon rules over Petit Verdot practically everywhere.  

The reason is simple: it is a lot easier to cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon than Petit Verdot.  The Petit Verdot vines are much more temperamental, requiring more work and oversight.  The grapes also ripen later than Cabernet Sauvignon and other red grapes.  As a result, Petit Verdot grapes are rarely used to make single varietal wines; instead, it is used as a blending grape, such as in those Bordeaux blends. However, during our little trip to the Inn at Little Washington, my beautiful Angel and I stopped at a nearby winery, Gadino Cellars, and discovered a Petit Verdot wine that was very good.  Given Clare could not drink at the time, I bought a bottle for us to enjoy at a later date.

Recently, we opened the bottle of Gadino Cellars' Petit Verdot (2010).  The wine poured a ruby red, with some darker crimson tones.  After doing a little research about Petit Verdot, I was expecting a wine that would be full of aromatic elements such as, by way of example, "Cigar Box, Pencil Shavings, Cellar Floor, Leather and Smoke" or "vanilla, smoke, spice, cedar, molasses and even tar."  With respect to fruits, the suggested notes would be dark cherries, plums or blackberries.

The Gadino Cellars' Petit Verdot featured a nose that was full of ripe dark cherries, accompanied by some more darker fruit, such as plums.  Those cherries and dark fruit were present throughout the wine.  The winemakers describe the flavor as including "juicy dark fruits," which "lead into a velvety texture of cocoa, crushed dried herbs and a caramel finish."  There is also a suggestion of tobacco.  I don't know if I could sense a "velvety texture of cocoa" or "tobacco," but I could say that there was a nice earthiness.  Nothing like a cellar floor, but something reminiscent of the ground on which the grapes were grown.  There was also a component of dried herbs, which provided a thyme or sage element to the flavor profile of the wine.  The Petit Verdot has its share of tannins, which provided an ever so subtle sense of astringency, which were mostly around the edges and gave way long before the finish. 

The winemakers suggest that this Petit Verdot pairs very well with a rack of lamb, eye of round, veal shank, duck and steak. This wine definitely goes well with red meat, whether grilled, roasted or braised. 

Overall, this wine is a very good example of an Old World varietal in a New World expression,  I have not seen this wine in stores but if you find yourself in Little Washington, you should check out Gadino Cellars.


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