First, what is Petit Verdot? The literal translation is “little green one”. This is because it is a late ripening grape from the Bordeaux region in France. It is a commonly used grape in blending, usually in small amounts to add color, tannin, structure and herbaceous notes of violet and sage. Today it is common to see 2% to no more than 10% in many Cabernet Sauvignon’s and other wines.
Rhonda Wood, winemaker at Wood Family Vineyards, makes some exceptional wines from Livermore, California. The background on the winery can be found in another story at:
Rhonda and the family winery are small in comparison to some of Livermore’s known name wineries but have been regarded for years as one of the top-quality wine producers.
From high in the sky to down to earth wines!! Yes Rhonda Wood, winemaker/owner of Wood Family Vineyards used to fly planes (US Airways) but now can be found in the vineyards tending vines. She and husband Michael (with their two sons), have a winery in eastern Livermore. Rhonda started making wine in 1996. Besides sourcing wine on their property, they are have 17 specific vineyards which are manicured to their specifications throughout Livermore’s ideal climate.
While I have written and very much enjoyed all of Rhonda wines, I tasted the 2019 Petit Verdot a week ago at her winery in Livermore. I was taken back and savored every sip so much I walked out with a case of Petit Verdot! First on the eyes this is cavernous dark wine almost black. It possesses a medium heavy viscosity when swirling in the glass. On the nose intense aromas of red (cherry), black fruits (plums) and violets great you. On the palate, the predominant trait are chewy cherries, but not sweet! Followed by leather, tobacco, anise and a slight vanilla quality. The finish was dry and the tannins were present but not “pointy”. The winery used 25% new French oak, 25% one-time used French oak and 50% twice used French oak. They are going to release the 2019 shortly at $34/bottle.
The Food and Wine Pairing
In the title of this article was “comfort”. As the last few nights were cold in the Sierra foothills, comfort food is always welcome on a cool evening. Last night a roast beef, cooked for hours in a crock pot hit the bullseye. Coupled with a Russet potato and fresh garden salad it was spectacular in flavoring and taste with the Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot is often associated with spicy sausage or game meats, but this wine with the roast beef with a dash of Tabasco hit the spot and warmed the soul.
I am certainly pleased to have more Wood Family Petit Verdot in the cellar!