Petit Verdot in Spain

Petit Verdot is one of those grapes that probably every (somewhat serious) wine drinker has had at some point, though until recently, it was probably only in a blend.  In its best known form, Petit Verdot is one of the “classic” varieties planted in the Bordeaux region of France.  It has never been a majority player in Bordeaux, but it is popular with wine makers there for its ability to add color, structure and aroma to the classic Bordeaux blend.

The major issue with Petit Verdot in Bordeaux vineyards is that it ripens very late, even later than Cabernet Sauvignon, so the grapes only reach full ripeness in the warmest years (its name means “little green” because of the fact that under improper ripening conditions, the grapes never undergo veraison and remain as unusable small green berries).  As a consequence of this, in the past, many estates pulled out their Petit Verdot vines in the 1960’s and 70’s, reducing the total vineyard area of the grape to less than 300 ha by the 1980’s.  As vintages have gotten progressively warmer through the 90’s and 2000’s, many estates are replanting Petit Verdot vines (or, in some cases, tending to vines that they had previously abandoned) and are using a bit more of it in their blends. For example,  By the year 2000, total acreage in Bordeaux had reached around 400 ha.

Many new world countries present warmer and more homogeneous climates than Bordeaux, so plantings of Petit Verdot have started to appear and have taken off in some regions.  Australia is the leaderwith four times more Petit Verdot plantings than France and a fairly substantial number of varietal bottlings.  That California is very high on the list (with about 900 ha planted) shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given the large number of Meritage bottlings in the area and the fact that varietally labeled wines can have up to 25% of other grapes in the blend (so some Petit Verdot probably sneaks in to quite a few wines labeled simply “Cabernet Sauvignon,” “Merlot,” what have you).  Petit Verdot is used mainly as a blending grape here, though there are a few varietal bottlings as well.

The variety was introduced to Spain in the 1990’s by Marques de Grinon of Dominio de Valpedusa near the city of Toledo. By 2008, plantings in Spain reached 1,042 ha.  Petite Vedot ripens very well in the region of Castilla La Mancha. It makes wines that have deep black colour with rich spicy flavors, good acidity and excellent tannic structure, allowing to age wonderfully in the cellar.

Such is the case of the Petit Verdot of Vina Cerron. This is small family producer located in the  in Fuenteálamo (Albacete) in the region of Castilla la Mancha. The produce both wines under the Designation of Origin “D.O.P. Jumilla” and the appellation “Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla”. They are organic since 1995. At Cerron, the terroir is very propitious for the growing of Petit Verdot. The area has extreme temperatures during the summer and winter. Their red soils consist of are rich in clay, chalk and other minerals. Cerron vineyards are also located between 800 and 850 above sea levels giving a nice elegance to counter the power and exuberance of Petit Verdot.

Cerron is represented by Elixirs in the province of Quebec.





Bodegas Cerron

Rabia Petit Verdot 2010.
Vinos de la Tierra Castilla

Deep dark purple Colour. On the nose, the wine deep and enticing aromas of blackcurrants, french oak and balsamic notes.In the mouth, the wine is full body with a smooth feeling on the midpalate and angular tannins on the edges. Mediumacidity, the wine has a Bordeaux cut like profile with lots of black fruits such as black plums, smoked ripe cassis with spices. Long afteraste. Shows lots of promise in the medium to long term future. 92\100

Don’t forget to visit my continuous and improving tasting notes section and region profiles of Spain. Until then, Salud!!!!.