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What happened to Petit Verdot? Known for centuries as a blending grape, this variety is now proving it can stand alone in its new home the Republic of Macedonia…
Petit Verdot has a long history, but despite this its origins remain sketchy and research devoted to it is minimal. It has been established that Petit Verdot is a red fruit that hails from the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region south of Bordeaux, and it is thought that the ancient Duras grape of Gaillac is its parent. Before the emergence of Bordeaux’s most famous offerings, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Petit Verdot ruled the roost alongside Malbec.
Over the years the amount of Petit Verdot planted in Bordeaux has significantly decreased due to the lengthy
ripening period it requires to produce wines of consistently good quality. As it is particularly stubborn to ripen Petit Verdot is also prone to frost damage, and entire crops can be lost in severe conditions. The small amount that is still produced here is most usually blended with more recognised counterparts, as its excellent tannic structure can give a weak wine some much needed lift and backbone.
Petit Verdot has conventionally been known as a blending grape, but given the right conditions it can stand alone and
produce highly impressive wines, including those of Macedonia! Known as the ‘little green one’ due to its small, thick-skinned berries, Petit Verdot can deliver excellently structured, spicy wines that are rich in black fruit, damson and plum flavours. It is also a grape variety that takes well to oak.
This grape variety’s demise in France has been countered by its move to warmer climes, and it has recently found a new home in more temperate climates including Australia, California and of course Macedonia. The unique micro-climate of the Tikveš region of Macedonia is located in the Eastern Mediterranean where Stobi’s Petit Verdot thrives, basking in the extended ripening season created by short springs and long, warm summers.
The mountains that surround Tikveš on three sides also help to protect this grape from harsh conditions. In its new home, Petit Verdot delivers full, rich, luscious, juicy wines, proving that it can stand alone, unblended, at last.
Story by me & Natasha Redcliffe www.westburycom.co.uk
Written for Signature Wines UK news blog – Stobi Wines UK
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