Friday, May 20, 2011

A Wine Contest!

Well, now, I saw this contest on the internet and thought I should share it. It's a Wine Spectator contest and anyone over 21 can enter a 3-minute educational and entertaining video about wine. Huzzah! I'm not sure what Adam and I can create together....but it's sure to be wacky. If we do end up submitting something, I'll also place it on here (as long as that doesn't disqualify us). But, I figure, it could be a fun project--involving two of my favorite things: wine and storytelling--so I hope my readers might consider (a) submitting something and telling me about what you submitted or (b) giving us some ideas so we can win this contest!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Petit Verdot 2009

Wine Facts for Petit Verdot
Grape Varietal: Petit Verdot
Vintage: 2009
Country: United States
Region: Virginia
Producer: CrossKeys Vineyards
Price: $24.00
Place of Purchase: CrossKeys Vineyards, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: The Petit Verdot grape varietal is one of the smallest and darkest grapes. Traditionally, it has been used with other grape varieties, as in Meritages. A Meritage is any wine that mixes several French grape varietals together, and Petit Verdot has been used as one of the mixers for several hundreds of years. Interestingly, most European vineyards and wineries actively avoid using Petit Verdot by itself and specify that they only use a small amount of it in mixed wines. They say that it is because the Petit Verdot grape has powerful tannins (some compare the taste to pencil shavings or molasses) that can make a full-bodied Petit Verdot overwhelming or unrefined. I disagree with this assessment, as you'll see below, but it could be because this Petit Verdot grape varietal was grown on a young, Virginia vine and may have smoother tannins to calm the palate rather than overwhelm it.

I know this location and vineyard quite well. I was married at CrossKeys Vineyard on March 20, 2010.  :) In addition, I've studied the wines, seen the vineyard fields, and talked to the winemakers and owners. This Petit Verdot is a vineyard favorite. If you are ever near Harrisonburg, Virginia, this vineyard is a must-visit! It's GORGEOUS (and makes great wine)!

Characteristics of Petit Verdot
Appearance: very deep purple with only the slightest hint of red
Bouquet: simple yet fragrant; the slight spiciness livens up a deep berry aroma; the French and American oak barrels that stored this vintage for 10 months definitely bring a deep, strong woody structure to the bouquet

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
This wine quickly became one of our favorites. I enjoyed it with all the pairings mentioned below. In contrast to the 2008 vintage, this one did not have carry any trace of bitterness, which was a pleasant surprise. I expected hints of bitterness in the finish, like the '08, but instead, the spice of the wine hit the top of my palate and sweetened quietly in the end. I found the bouquet to be misleading; there was much more to this wine than its scent implied. That slight misdirection accounts for some of the surprise, but the diversity, fullness, and sheer tastiness of this petit verdot is the real story.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
You know the song "Smooth Operator" by Sade? For some reason, I always connect that song to Paula Abdul. My oddness in music aside, this wine is one smooth operator.  The bouquet teases with a delicacy that it doesn't have. And that's a good thing. Once in the mouth, it delivers a smooth deep berry fruit. I know that the petit verdot  grapes are super small, and you can feel the grapes just bursting with flavor inside your moth. It's not just a sweetness, for there is a hint of spicy earthiness that toughens this wine. This wine lingers and entices the tongue, infatuating with boldness while soothing with an intoxicating finish. Try it. This smooth operator wil leave you more than satisfied.  :)
On my scale, it's a 10.

We paired with: spaghetti, thai food, chocolate, and just sipping
We recommend this with: just about anything!