Petit Verdot grown in Temecula CA Vineyards offers better characteristics for a Meritage blended wine.
Petit Verdot (pronounced peh-TEE vehr-DOUGH and means little green) is a red wine grape classically used in Bordeaux-style red wine grape and American Cabernets to support the color, tannins, and complexity. The grape is small, thick skinned, and highly colored. Winemakers often use this temecula grape as cooks would use herbs. It is generally used in small portions of 5% or less in wine due to its tendency to be astringent and have strong vinous green flavors & aromas reminiscent of pencil shavings. However, when allowed to become very ripe in hot weather such as Temecula, the vinous characters are less pronounced so higher amounts can be used. Mature fruit offers the best of a Big Red Temecula wine with spice, leather, and floral notes while still maintaining appropriate acidity.
Land devoted to Petit Verdot are increasing in California because the weather allows for complete ripening of the grapes, improving the value of the wine. The Petit Verdot varietal is also on the rise in other hot wine growing locations like Australia and South America. In Frances cooler weather, acreage with this grape is declining since the variety typically ripens late which can risk the value of the grape, and crops can be damaged to fall inclimate weather. Temeculas hot weather is perfect for the Petit Verdot grape and gives the grape time to reach its fullest flavors.
Petit Verdot is one of the six recognized varietals (also including, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Carmenere) from the Bordeaux area in France . Outside of France, wineries making blends with Petit Verdot and the other typical Bordeaux grapes are not allowed to call their blended wines Bordeaux blends. In 1988, an association of American winemakers created the term Meritage (a combination of Merit and Heritage) to describe a Bordeaux-style wine produced in America. According to the Meritage Association, Meritage was conceived to name wines that represent the best examples of the winemakers art, blending, and identify these blended wines from the cheap moniker red table wine. A Meritage wine must consist of two or more of the noble Bordeaux varietals with no single variety composed of more than 90% of the blend. Also, to insure that the name Meritage is only used for hand crafted wines, case production is restricted to 25,000 cases per harvest.
Temecula wineries are experimenting in using larger amounts of Petit Verdot in their Meritage wines. Wiens Family Cellars of Temecula California is a Temecula winery utilizing Temeculas superior grape growing conditions to grow Petit Verdot grapes. The winery will distribute their 2007 Temecula Valley Meritage to California wine club members on August 12, 2009. The blend includes 25% Petit Verdot so the unique characteristics are evident within the wines wonderful taste. In addition to the award winning ripening climate in Temecula California, 2007 was a dry year which increased wine intensities in the Temecula Valley. The drought added wine flavors more towards jammy with dark berry/plum flavors.
Blended wine with significant percentage of Petit Verdot are ideally served with foods including an herbal flavor. Foods with strong flavors like balsamic vinegar also pair nicely, as do robust strong-flavor artisan olive oils and pepper-jack cheese. This varietals level of tannin and acidity make it a ideal wine that is not easily drowned out by strong food flavors!
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Wiens Family Cellars, a Temecula winery, is committed to making world class (big red) Temecula wines with fruit produced from the Temecula Valley. One of our most important current goals is to develop a Bordeaux blend that is on par with the best of the Napa/Sonoma regions.
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