Petit verdot is a grape that you’ve probably tasted before, though perhaps without realizing it.
A red grape used in classic Bordeaux blends, it’s grown in many vineyards on the North Fork, though not in large quantities. It’s a late ripener and often among the last grapes picked every harvest. On Long Island, it’s mostly used to add color, tannin and acidity other red wines. It can really help with mid-palate weight and concentration, making wines taste more complete.
And once you recognize its telltale structure and flavors, you can pick it out even in small amounts in a blend.
You don’t see a lot of them, but a handful of producers are bottling petit verdot on its own, or in the case of our wine of the week, Sannino Vineyard 2014 “Spotlight” Petit Verdot ($35), nearly on its own. For this wine, co-owner and winemaker Anthony Sannino blended 15 percent cabernet sauvignon into the petit verdot.
It bursts with blueberry aromas, both fresh and something more akin to a compote, with light peppery spice and some black cherry. The oak footprint, thankfully, is light here. Barely noticeable.
Medium-full in body, the palate features both the trademark tannins and the trademark acidity of the main component, but neither is out of place here. Concentrated fruit flavors are accented by spice and the faintest herbal note. It’s juicy and spicy with a little toasted oak peeking through on the end of a medium-length finish.
My favorite way to enjoy a wine like this — and most petit verdot, really — is with grilled meat. Red meat. At $35 it may be a splurge for a simple burger, but that’s the first thing I thought of when I tasted it — how great it’d be with a well-charred, rare burger.