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. More recently Petit Verdot is being seen as a 100% bottled wine.
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 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 about a month 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 a 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 greet 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. The 2019 release sells for $34/bottle.
This wine is “so delicious” and strong, we simply had it as an after-dinner wine. Previously, we paired it with a roast beef, and it was a great combination.
I am certainly pleased to have more 2019 Wood Family Vineyards Petit Verdot in the cellar!