This year it was a big call for what to match to the Christmas turkey. There were a few cherryish pinots from the Yarra Valley which i’ve grown fond of, but they’re nowhere near ready yet. There are big cab savs, but you’d need a really old one that had a bit of grace about it. This was the year for an odds on bet. I took out a 2002 Petit Verdot.
Make no mistake this is not a trendy wine. For a start it’s from the Murray Valley region, not some glitzy South Australian region. It’s also worth saying that despite the five gold medals on the label (not like the bottle pictured), it cost less than twenty bucks in a corner store. What it was, from this winery and in this vintage, was a sensation.
This verdot, with five years in the bottle, had been aged properly and had lost its harsh tannins. It had a very luxurious fruit/acid balance, with a subtle tinge of cranberry that suits roasted turkey. Mouth finish was viscous and bang on perfect.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen verdot anywhere it’s simple. It’s not cool. It’s been an anonymous blender in Bordeaux blends since Adam was a boy and the vine looks like brambles in full bloom. When most wine makers will only mix about 4% of petit verdot with a Shiraz or something red, you get the idea how hard it is to make 100% of it taste great.
So my advice to you is this. If you see a 2002 Trentham Estates verdot, just buy it and drink it now. Don’t go pass go, don’t collect $200. Just get the corkscrew and a nice looking woman. After the requisite five years it’s sublime. You won’t find one. But if you see a 2004 or 2005, I reckon it would actually be better.
If you drink it before hand, it will be a bit more gruff and in your face. But if you’re patient it will royally award you with something very special at a very bargain basement price.