2017 Lions Peak Petit Verdot

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Quick Background

Petit Verdot may be the next varietal making a big splash! Generally it has been a blending grape for highly sought out Bordeaux wines. Recently more wineries are producing Petit Verdot varietals. A quick background on this “little green one” (translation) as it got its name from being a late ripening warm climate variety. Petit Verdot is one of the five grapes going into the modern Bordeaux blend. Because of its strong presence, generally less than 5% of Petit Verdot is added as it produces a dark color, tannin and floral aromas. More and more 100% varietal Petit Verdot is finding its way into wineries and wine shops.

The Winery – Lions Peak

Lions Peak was founded in 1992 by Jennifer Arant. Up until this year the property of 128 acres and with 40 acres planted was their estate vineyard. The winery has primarily concentrated on Bordeaux and Rhone varietals of grapes. Other wines produced include various red and white blends, Rose’s, sparkling wine and dessert wines.

The vineyards were recently sold and she will source her grapes from a variety of vineyards around California. She has previously used grapes from other vineyards in Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Monterey AVA’s. She is currently looking to Santa Rita Hills to provide additional Chardonnay & Pinot Noir grapes for some new vintages.

The Wine – 2017 Lions Peak Petit Verdot

Having never tried wine from Lions Peak previously, I was curious and anxious to sip the wine. At first upon the eyes, it was dark and had a mysterious allure in the color, with radiant purple and magenta hues. On the nose, aromas of black fruits blackberry, black cherry and plum were prominent. Secondary aromas of dried herbal and floral notes of violet and sage sprang forth. On the palate, previous aromas burst through coupled with cedar, anise, sage and violet abounded. Dense and mouth filling is best to describe this wines “thickness and bold fruit”. The finish is where a pleasant surprise caught me off guard. Rather than the high tannins with angular definition, this was rounded and smooth with an underlying structure. Little smoke and rustic characteristics were found! It presented itself as a being a thoroughbred stallion with smoothness and silkiness. Medium acidity only enhanced the smoothness for an enjoyable finish and allowed a slight vanilla and hazelnut to surface.

The wine was aged in 100% French oak and received 94 Points & Double Gold Award at Orange County Fair. Also the wine won a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Wine Competition.  A very fine and delightful Petit Verdot.  Their website shows it selling for $75/bottle and only 64 cases were produced.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired with an olive oil rubbed pork roast that was moist and delicious. It was initially roasted at high temperatures and then cooked at a lower temperature to seal in the flavors, keeping it moist. Seasoned with garlic salt, smoked Applewood salt, coarse black pepper and whole garlic cloves inserted into the meat.  

The pork slices were drizzled with Steward & Jasper Orchards Cherry Pepper Sauce. The red cherry provided a counter point to the garlic and embraced the wine. Served with a cheese tortellini pasta and broccoli. A fresh garden salad also accompanied the meal. Definitely a winning combination this evening.

Looking forward to trying some of Lions Peak additional Bordeaux varietals in the near future.







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