Jeff’s Corner 12-2-22

Happy holiday madness, everyone! Even though the frenzy is about to really ramp up, we’re going to step back and take a peek at the last wine we have to review this year, the 2020 Invention. Every once in a while the stars align perfectly and I get to write about a new vintage the same day it’s released to our Wine Club members, and that’s what’s happening today.

One of the many perks for our members is that they are often the first to receive new vintages before they are released in our tasting rooms. The new ’20 Invention won’t be on our tasting bars for a while, but it is included in our December Black Label allocation, which is a fantastic way to begin the month.

If you are a 3-bottle-Black member, look forward to receiving Bellissimo, Mosaic, and our new Invention. If you’re a baseball fan (like me), this is the heart of the batting order, with Bellissimo hitting third, Mosaic cleanup, and Invention fifth. Wowser!!!

The “little green one” as it translates, is originally from Bordeaux and is perhaps a cross between Tressot and Duras (two grapes originally planted by the Romans in Bordeaux), but its origins are shrouded in time. Its greatest popularity was in the 1700’s, but it fell out of favor because of its tendency to ripen very late. Petit Verdot is also known as Verdot Rouge, Carmelin, Bouton, and Petit Verdaut.

Petit Verdot, however, has become a rising star in Texas where its late-ripening is a plus in our hot, dry environment. Invention, like Serendipity, was a bit of an accident. We really didn’t plan on adding a new wine to our portfolio, but in 2015 the Petit Verdot from Russell Lepard Vineyards (which we typically blended into Mosaic) was so incredible that we decided to bottle 100 cases. It developed beautifully, we contracted more High Plains Petit Verdot, and Invention became reality.

I’m asked often about why we have “Petit” Verdot and “Petite” Sirah, and we owe a big thanks to my extraordinary co-worker Julia Dickens who researched the answer. Like Bellissimo and Bellissima, it’s a gender thing. Verdot is masculine and calls for a masculine descriptor, which is petit (the second “t” is silent. Sirah is feminine, so the descriptor, petite, is feminine as well with a hard “t.”

Jason likes to use Petit Verdot as a minor blending grape in our wine to add color and structure (it is in 5 of our 9 reds), but it is the front and center star of Invention. The 2020 is 75.8% Petit Verdot with 13.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.1% Merlot, and tiny amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Malbec. The ABV is a food-friendly 13.2%.

I just pulled the cork, so let’s see what’s going on… The color is a rich, dark ruby and the aromas are a tapestry of black cherry, cassis, and black licorice complimented by lovely floral notes of lilac, lavender, and violet. The palate is luxuriously sensual and full-bodied with near perfect balance and a fruit-driven finish that seems to linger forever.

Once again, Jason and crew have outdone themselves; their mastery of this intriguing grape seems to grow with every vintage. Let’s serve this around 60* with chicken mole enchiladas, refried black beans with bacon, and Spanish rice.

We’ll see you soon…