Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's a big Fruitbomb but I like it - Kingston Estate Petit Verdot

This is definitely not my usual type of wine, this is a big fruit bomb from down under but this one I liked. Strolling the aisles at the Mothership the other day, and with flank steak on the menu, I was looking for something ripe and lush. My first gander was in Argentina and South Africa but there was nothing that lit my fire, at least nothing I hadn't tried before, so I headed over to the Australian section. I really wasn't counting on success, as my record with Oz reds in the $15 range is pretty poor, but since I was actually looking for something ripe and lush I thought maybe the Dingo's might get the job done. As I was checking out the myriad of Shiraz with silly names I got a text requesting my presence at the home office so I had to make a fast decision, I quickly grabbed an "on sale" bottle of Petit Verdot and headed for the checkout.

For those unaware of Petit Verdot, and I'm guessing that would be quite a few, it is originally from Bordeaux, one of those old wine producing regions in Europe that rarely names their wines after animals, and is one of the five varietals used in making red wine in the Bordeaux. The other four are all pretty well known and established on their own: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc but Petit Verdot doesn't get a lot of attention. Mostly Petit Verdot gets downplayed because it is very late to ripen and thus often is picked under ripe, resulting in nasty acidic little wines that are best blended with others. In Australia, and particularly in the vast sun baked tracts of the Murray Valley riverlands region of South Australia Petit Verdot can fully ripen and stand alone. Some further research indicates that Kingston Estate are the largest growers of Petit Verdot in Australia

The results are generally big, rich red wines, fruit bombs if you will, and while they are not generally my style they can, in proper hands have the heady fruit flavours tempered with some tannin and some of the left over natural acidity and produce wines of merit, and last week I got lucky. The wine in question was Kingston Estate Petit Verdot 2010 the bottle age of three years is important as a younger wine would not have had time to mesh the big fruit with the dusty tannins but this wine worked, and worked well. In the glass the wine is deep, deep purple in colour and the nose is quite floral, with a touch of sweet spice and a touch of lead pencil, in the mouth the wine is blackberry jam, with a spice palate rich in the sweet compote spices, cinnamon, clove and all spice and finishes very long. The beauty of this is that the fruit is not over powering, yes it could use a touch more acid but all in the all the balance is good and the wine is a hedonistic pleasure. I drank it with grilled flank steak, but it would be a great partner to the cheese course and I can't wait to try it out with some spicy sausage on the grill or even a cassoulet.

The wine regularly retails for $17.99, which is a tad high for a BBQ quaffer but it's on sale right now at $15.99, with limited distribution I might add. I will pick up a few bottles before the sale ends to have on hand for summer, assuming it arrives, BBQ and advise you to as well.

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