Bitter beauty. Listen: one of the earliest tests for the 99 is liking one variety and comparing all wines the same color to that variety. People in retail or wine-service deal with this every day. This becomes super-apparent when dealing with rare grapes which are commonly blended for additions to the whole of their particular properties. And an entire thesis could be written on the slippery slope of making a wine GOOD or making it VARIETALLY CORRECT. Those are the black & white concepts, and of course there are ACRES of grey between. What is this post about again? It’s about PETIT VERDOT, of course. And here we have a beautiful Petit Verdot.
Pitch-black and nearly impenetrable, the glow of purple rimming the ruby edge. Grainy, weedy, bitter and dense in the nose, you KNOW you are in for Petit Verdot LONG before you taste it. Miraculous fruit–a deep black cherry, fried blackberries, raw beef on a black walnut cutting board: the glow of a hi-carbon knife etching in its blood. Moldy grapefruit pulls the soil straight between your eyes: black intensity giving way to glorious berry with each sniff.
In the mouth, the kind of rush you get from red wines with an advanced degree in acid and density races across your scalp. Instantaneously cool and inviting, that welcome-mat gets yanked out fairly fast as the true nature of this variety shows itself. Like a parolee with his ankle-bracelet fresh off, things get crazy fast. The bitter love plows all that black cherry deep into your soul, a buttered-popcorn late-middle lingering through the early notes of tannin like a red dress on prom night.
Don’t get me wrong: this is a gorgeous wine, religiously fruited, dark and jammy and sexy as all get out. But it is also Petit Verdot. You can’t forget that. It WON’T LET you forget that. Easily one of the finest examples of this variety I have had.
2017 CIRCLE B VINEYARDS Petit Verdot San Miguel Paso Robles 15.3