Petit Verdot

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Petit Verdot is one of Bordeaux’s classic black grape varieties, no longer planted in any great quantity but enjoying a small revival in some quality-conscious vineyards. The vine ripens even later than Cabernet Sauvignon and is equally resistant to rot. It shares Cabernet Sauvignon’s thick skins and is also capable of yielding concentrated, tannic wines rich in colour. When it ripens fully, which in most Bordeaux properties happens only in riper vintages, its rich, age-worthy, sometimes rather spicy wines can make a valuable contribution to some of the best wines of the Médoc, but in a cool year it can add a distinctly raw, underripe note to a blend. Its inconveniently late ripening encouraged many producers to abandon it in the 1960s and 1970s so that total French plantings were just over 300 ha/740 acres in 1988, but by 2011 had increased to more than 1,000 ha, 673 ha of these in the Gironde.