Sunday, October 21, 2012

Howard Goldberg Raves About Long Island Petite Verdots in the New York Times

Petit Verdot Takes a Star Turn

Petit verdot is best known for its supporting role as a blending grape in Bordeaux reds. On Long Island, a few vintners have transformed it into single varietal wines.

If the four I recently tasted served as an accurate indicator of the wine’s local possibilities, petit verdot could become the region’s third most interesting red, behind cabernet franc and merlot.

Petit verdot is a late ripener and, because of its thick skin, resists rot, which the North and South Forks’ maritime climate can propagate during moist growing seasons. The stand-alone wines it yields, usually containing dollops of other reds, can be rich in color, spicy, tannic and long-lived.
My favorite, the medium-bodied, almost sweet 2010 ($35) from Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton, was charming, bouncy and refreshing — over all, lip-smacking. The winemaker, James Christopher Tracy, has fully realized the pleasures his fruit could deliver.
Next, I was almost overwhelmed by the dark, hefty, flavor-saturated, nuanced 2007 petit verdot reserve from Jamesport Vineyards in Jamesport, which is as extravagant as its $100 price.
“The 2007 vintage was beautiful,” Ronald Goerler Jr., an owner, said in a phone interview. Describing the price as “an ego thing” designed to slow down demand, Mr. Goerler said, “We wanted the wine not to fly off the shelf.”
The plump, muscular, vividly tasty 2007 Vintner’s Pride petit verdot ($39.99) from Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue was mouth-filling and satisfying. It offered a whisper of plumlike flavor and a whiff of chocolate.
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