Perky Petit Verdot
Originally planted to use in our Bordeaux blends Perky starts out as giant of a wine yet through the mid-pallet it ends up silky smooth making it a totally enjoyable wine to sit and sip.
Perky is dark purple and inky in color. The aroma profile includes vanilla, smoke, spice, subtle cedar, molasses and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. The flavor profile includes dense, dark fruit such as blackberry, black cherry and black plum. These aromas and flavors combine to form a rich texture throughout this olfactory sensation. This is a mouthful of a wine.
Perky - The Name ®
In 1910 C.W. Perky performed experiments to determine reality vs perception in imagery. The "Perky Effect" has come to mean the reduction in visual performance that results when one deliberately focuses on a mental image.
Petit Verdot is often used to add small amounts of tannin, color and flavor to a Bordeaux blend. As a taster focuses on the Cabernet Sauvignon flavors it is almost impossible to perceive the presence of Petit Verdot in the blend, however if the taster focuses on the flavors of Petit Verdot it will appear, because it really is a lively, enthusiastic, perky wine.
Perky - The Wine
Late ripening and therefore the resultant late harvest often precludes Petit Verdot fruit from being included in the final blend for most wineries. We overcome this by harvesting only when the grape is fully ripe, regardless of the date, and fermenting it as a standalone wine, to be used later in the blending process, often referred to as "assemblage".
This has the added benefit of allowing us to taste and bottle a pure Petit Verdot, hence the appearance of Perky - a wine that is simply amazing all on its own.
Perky - The Food
Perky pairs well with rich, hearty and robust red meat dishes like grilled steak, spicy pork, veal, lamb, all types of game and sausage as well as aged cheeses especially if they are themselves spiced. The tannin in Perky reacts with the high levels of protein in these types of food dishes to soften it and ease digestion. Think in terms of foods that have:
- Texture - Firm or robust
- Flavor - Multiple, complex flavors
- Spice - High to medium spice content
- Loves - Venison
Think about recipes like bouillabaisse with tomatoes and saffron, pork with chili verde sauce, duck ragout, venison chops with rice, venison pot roast, etc. More . . .
About Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot (Peh-Tee Ver-Doh) is rarely, bottled as a stand-alone varietal. Its powerful characteristics usually require blending which makes Petit Verdot one of the traditional classic red grape varieties approved for blending in Bordeaux usually only making up to 3% of the Bordeaux blend,.
As such it adds a strong tannin structure, dark color and a unique flavor profile that can manifest itself with aromas of flowers, olives or when very ripe, blueberry characteristics and powerful spice flavors so usually its place in a blend is just a small percentage.
Interestingly the largest total planted acreage of Petit Verdot is across hot climate areas of our native Australia and is also at home in the hot, dry climate of Portugal’s Alentejo area. We grow it here in Northern California at higher elevations, above the fog layer where it can bask in the heat of the sun all day. This more consistent, warmer climate is a big help in reliably ripening the fruit.
Petit Verdot is a tough grape to grow because of its propensity to grow a big canopy with a sensitivity to water stress which causes it to ripen late. As such it can have difficulty reaching full phenolic ripeness we like in our wines and water management throughout the growing season is extremely important.