B. Leighton Petit Verdot 2015
The 2015 harvest was the warmest vintage in recorded history, with fantastic viticulture and a great extended harvest. Because of this, they were able to make some of the most incredible wines to date. The vintage was dray and long with an early bud break and late harvest that had cool evening to guarantee incredible quality. The 2015 wines have big complex flavors, good acidity and great balance.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Offering up brooding aromas of smoky black cherries, crème de cassis and violets, the 2015 Petit Verdot Olsen Vineyard is full-bodied and powerful, with an ample core of fruit framed by rich structuring tannins, and it has a long, savory finish. While it's a very superb standalone expression of Petit Verdot, and certainly the most powerful wine in the range, I gravitated toward the two Rhône bottlings reviewed here.
Big, round and salubrious plums and blackberries here. Soft swirling tannins that deliver plenty of energy and depth. Pleasure machine. Drink or hold.
Plush and polished, showing a complex core framed by fleshy blueberry and cherry flavors, accented by licorice and spice notes that linger on the finish. Drink now through 2025.
Brennon Leighton is the Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Charles Smith Wines where he oversees all viticulture, vineyard relations and winemaking for all Charles Smith brands, including K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines, ViNO, SIXTO, Wines of Substance and Casa Smith. Considered to be one of the best winemakers in the state of Washington by wine critics and connoisseurs alike, Leighton has nearly 20 years of experience in winemaking and viticulture.
Leighton grew up in Santa Cruz, California and moved to Seattle when he was a 21-year-old punk rocker, who exclusively drank cheap beer and whiskey. He was first introduced to wine while employed at a high-end restaurant and decided, at the age of 25, to go to college and earn a degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California at Davis.
Prior to working at Charles Smith Wines, Leighton worked in vineyards in California, eventually returning to Seattle to work for Chateau Ste. Michelle and later as Head Winemaker for Efeste. After first meeting in the early 1990s, Leighton and Charles Smith reconnected, and Smith hired Leighton as a consultant to help with his well-known wine, Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Two years later, in 2012, Charles Smith hired Leighton as the winery’s full-time Winemaker, and partner in his new Chardonnay project – SIXTO. Leighton’s thoughtful, kind, and intense passion for wine made him perfect for the job. In 2014, Leighton was promoted to Director of Winemaking and Viticulture where he now manages all vineyards and winemaking teams.
In 2012, Leighton created B. Leighton Wines to showcase the world-class terroir of Washington State. B. Leighton Wines are authentic, classic and alive. The wines have received 90+ points by wine critics such as Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, who most recently noted, “If you haven’t heard of Brennon Leighton, now’s a good time to fix that!”
As the first recognized wine-growing region in the Pacific Northwest, Yakima Valley is centrally located within Washington’s vast Columbia Valley. The region also includes Washington’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines, Otis Vineyard, planted in 1957, and Harrison Hill Vineyard, planted in 1963. Yakima Valley contains three smaller sub-regions: Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, and Snipes Mountain and is ideal for both red and white wine production. In fact, Yakima Valley is Washington’s most diverse region, boasting more than 40 different grape varieties over about one hundred miles.
But its warmer locations yield a large proportion of Washington’s best Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The finest Yakima Valley reds are jam-packed full of red cherry, currant, raspberry or blackberry fruit, as well as cocoa, herb, spice and savory notes, and exhibit a supple texture, great body, focus and length.
One of the original Bordeaux varieties, Petit Verdot has a bold structure, color and aromas, which allow it to make a significant difference in Bordeaux Blends—even in modest amounts. While it isn’t planted in Bordeaux in great quantities anymore, its virtues are increasingly identified elsewhere. Somm Secret—Producing phenomenal single-varietal wines in hot and dry locations in the New World, Petit Verdot also finds a happy home in parts of Spain as well as in in Portugal’s Alentejo where it gracefully blends with the regions' indigenous varieties.