By Gary L Peters
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Extra resources for American Winescapes: The Cultural Landscapes Of America's Wine Country
Its high price reflect5 both an increased appreciation of its high quality and its current scarcity. Dark in color, Petite Verdot is capable of producing deep-hued wines that can add depth of color and variety of flavor to Meritage blends. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot is fairly resistant to rot; it5 late ripening habit, however, can he problematic, especially in areas subject to fall rains or frosts. In 1904, there were only 160 acres of Petite Verdot in California, up from a mere 20 acres in 1986; some very small acreages may be currently planted elsewhere in the c o u n q .
Carignane is a moderate-sized grape, black in color, that grows in medium-sized clusters. Its main appeal is prodigious yields, not high quality; in cooler climates it yields perhaps five to eight tons per acre, though in the warmer regions it may yield up to twelve or thirteen tons per acre. In cool regions it is susceptible to powdery mildew, whereas in the warmest regions it has problems with bunch rot. In the warrnest viticulmral climates, this grape can maintain reasonable acid and tannin levels, though it can produce more balanced-if neither particularly distinctive nor charming-table wines when it is grown in viticultural climates similar to those suitable for good Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.
The hest of these wines are treated much like Chardonnays at the winery, receiving oak aging (sometimes even fermentation in oak) and some bottle aging. Wine writer h t h o n y Dias Blue (1982b:22) made the following comment about Sauvignon Ganc: "This noble wine does have a flavor and aroma that, at its best, smells like new-mown hay. The finest examples also have elegance and breeding. " Those who are attracted to this grape and its fine wines are most assuredly glad that he was right. Eram oak.