Monday, August 31, 2015

Napa Valley Petit Verdot - Good, But Not Unexpected

A recent virtual wine tasting event featured a sextet of "Unexpected Napa Wines." While Petit Verdot might not be the first grape you think of when someone mentions the Napa Valley, I would hesitate to say that I am shocked to hear of a Bordeaux variety growing there.

This inky wine is created with grapes from St. Supery’s Dollarhide Vineyard. Third generation winemakers, the Skalli family, allow Petit Verdot to carry the load, accounting for 97% of the blend. The rest is Cabernet Sauvignon. Oak aging occurs over 20 months in French oak barrels, half of which are new. There were 590 cases of this wine produced, and it retails for $50.

Dollarhide - the family-owned, sustainably farmed estate vineyard - features about 500 acres of grapevines, with the other two-thirds of the acreage left to its natural state. Vineyard elevations range from 600 to 1,100 feet, which exaggerates Napa Valley’s warm days and cool nights. Thirteen different soil types and a unique microclimate give Dollarhide a unique growing environment for grapes.

On social media, @TheDailySip calls it “a dense, opaque purple. The flavor is incredibly compact as well – blueberry, licorice, and black pepper.” @DrinkWhatULike let us know that Petit Verdot is “one of more notable grapes here in Va. This '10 a big‘un but well balanced. Well done.” @KMacWine tweeted, “I enjoy the blue fruit tones to this @StSupery #petitverdot, as well as its notes of violet and a distinct spiciness.” @SLHousman went gaga: “Wow BIG blackberry pie, allspice, anise w/ a touch of earth in this Petit Verdot.” More on the size from @winerabble: “There is nothing petite about #petitverdot!” @elyserobin rhymed, “Hello Petit Verdot! Blackberry and plum and vanilla, oh my!” We’re not in Bordeaux anymore. We're in the Napa Valley.

The 2010 St. Supery Dollarhide Petit Verdot is dark, as in dark, as in indigo ink. Very dark. Blackberry on the nose is not a bit shy, and is joined by black plum, clove, sage, vanilla and coffee. The palate shows dark fruit cloaked in oak spice and a dusty mineral note, the kind you only find in a single vineyard wine. Big tannic structure and acidity lasts for days. The wine finishes just as bold and brawny as it starts.

Pair with meat? Oh, yes. Think about a big, thick steak or lamb shanks. A beef stew would go just great with this one. Lay off the spices in your dish, because the wine has plenty of its own.


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