Thought to be a native grape of the western Bordeaux region of France, Petit Verdot is typically used as a blending grape to add dark purple color, structure and spice notes to red blends. Like a pungent baking spice, a little Petit Verdot goes a long way in blending.

Known as ‘little green one,’ this small, thick-skinned, late ripening grape is thriving in vineyards around Virginia and has found a home in the sandy loam and clay soils at Wessex Hundred in historic Williamsburg. Purchased in 1983 by Patrick and Peggy Duffeler, the 300-acre Wessex Hundred farm is now home to The Williamsburg Winery, 40 acres of grape vines, two restaurants and a European-style country hotel.

The property is also home to four acres of Petit Verdot planted in 2005, which serves as the base for the 2013 Adagio, The Williamsburg Winery’s flagship red blend.

A blend of 72% estate-grown Petit Verdot, 14% estate-grown Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc sourced from western Virginia, the 2013 Adagio is outstanding and every bit as good as the 2010 version that won the coveted Virginia Governor’s Cup in 2014.

Dark garnet color in the glass, the wine offers aromas of raspberry, dark berries, nutmeg, clove, cocoa and violet. On the palate, flavors of baking spice, violet, plum and vanilla lead to a lengthy chalky, dark cherry, spice finish. Medium-bodied with notable tannins and acidity. Just 193 cases bottled.

Look for the Adagio and their other Petit Verdot wines like the Wessex Hundred 100% Petit Verdot made exclusively from estate-grown fruit.

Frank Morgan is a contributing editor for VWL and author of the award-winning wine blog, Follow Morgan on Twitter @DrinkWhatULike.

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Frank Morgan