I’ve always loved the varietal petit verdot, so when the chance came to work with the grape, I jumped at it. After it was all said and done, I have 44 cases to share with you. Making this wine was a great learning experience, but I won’t needlessly fill this space in with cliches trying to explain why. The Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington provided the fruit, from an area just outside of the town of Prosser. The grapes were grown in vines averaging around 15 years of age and yields were somewhat on the low side, about 1.9 tons to the acre.
The 2012 Petit Verdot is a super cool, interesting expression of the grape. I fermented the grapes with about 20% whole cluster, to create a fresher, lighter style. When we were shoveling out the fermenter bin to load the press, there was an intact layer of clusters lining the bottom. Those clusters had undergone some carbonic maceration, lightening and freshening the wine further. Alcoholic fermentation finished around 14.5%, which is what was expected given the warm growing season. The wine was aged in two neutral French Oak barrels for 11 months, with malo-lactic fermentation taking place in those barrels.
On the nose I get ripe black plum, spices, cherry, and wood aromas. The attack is all black fruit and peppercorns, followed by subtle notes of licorice, plum skin, and blackberry. I really like the tension in the wine, due to the vibrant acidity. Firm but smooth tannins work their way through the palate as well, forming a nice, complete structure. The finish is more ripe black fruit balanced by zingy acidity.
While I think this will be a long lived wine – plenty of acidity helps with that – it’s also meant to be consumed younger and especially with food. My advice is to decant for a bit before you drink it.