2017 Avid Petit Verdot, Stags Leap, Napa Valley, California

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Petit Verdot is most widely known as a component of Bordeaux blends. It is thick-skinned and late ripening, making it simultaneously a hardy, rot-resistant grape, and also challenging to ripen fully in cooler climates. In warm climates, however, Petit Verdot has the tannin structure, acidity, and complex aroma compounds and flavor precursors to stand on its own and make elegant single varietal wines. The 2017 Avid Petit Verdot is no exception; sourced from the renowned Stags Leap District AVA, warm summers with a large diurnal range allow the Petit Verdot to ripen fully while maintaining acidity. Tannins accumulate before veraison (when the grapes swell and change from green to purple) and smaller berries means a higher ratio of tannin to juice. Petit Verdot means “small green” most likely stemming (no pun intended) from both its small berry size and late-ripening nature – when used in Bordeaux, the Petit Verdot berries may still be green at harvest. Petit Verdot has a reputation for having deep color and rich, chewy tannins, which lends well to blending, but can be off-putting on its own. In warmer climates, however, Petit Verdot can ripen fully, with continued heat allowing the tannins in the grapes to polymerize (become larger) and appear softer on the palate. The grapes for the 2017 Avid Petit Verdot were harvested in the first week of October, crushed, and cold-soaked at 60°F for 3 days to extract color and aroma compounds. The must was then fermented at a warm 80°F to extract the full richness and tannins from the Petit Verdot. Once primary fermentation was complete, the wine was matured in a blend of 50% American and French Oak. The final product is a deep purple wine with aromas of plum, blackberry, coconut, and violet, with well-integrated, fine tannins. The Avid Petit Verdot will pair beautifully with any red meat.

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