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Michael David Winery Inkblot Petit Verdot 2012
“Michael” and “David” are Michael and David Phillips, brothers whose family has farmed fruits and vegetables in the Lodi region since the 1850s and cultivated wine grapes for nearly a century. Michael and David constitute the 5th generation of grape growers in the Phillips family, with the 6th generation now joining the family business.
The Phillips family likes to emphasize the importance of quality wines with unique and fun labels. Wine makers Adam Mettler, Derek DeVries and Jeff Farthing specialize in producing Lodi’s famous Old Vine Zinfandels, as well as Rhone varietals such as Ancient Vine Cinsault and Syrah for Michael David Winery.
Farming with future generations in mind, the Phillips have adopted some of the most progressive sustainable farming practices in the state. All 800 acres of the family’s vineyards are third party certified, and the state’s first per ton bonus was issued for contracted growers to follow in the family’s footsteps.
With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.
By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).
A highly desirable blending grape originating from Bordeaux in the southwest of France, Petit Verdot adds bold color, lovely floral components and earthy tannins to its blends. While it is commonly added to other Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec in quantities typically less than 10% of the total, it can also produce phenomenal single-varietal wines in some subregions of Australia, Chile, Spain, California and Washington State.
In Bordeaux, it is showing a small revival given its resistance to rot, thick skins and capability of yielding a wine concentrated in color and tannin.
In the Glass
Petit Verdot makes an intriguing wine with aromas of black fruit such as blackberry, plum, blueberry or black cherry as well as violets and dried herbs. It can be deliciously rustic but is most often oak aged to soften its inherently bold tannins, a process that softens and gives welcomed hints of vanilla, coffee and hazelnut.
Roasted pork or grilled lamb kabobs, as well as barbeque and Mole dishes are wonderful. Hard and salty cheeses such as Pecorino, Manchego or aged cheddar can be fun to have alongside Petit Verdot.
When it ripens fully it is a valuable contribution of richness and spice to some of the best blends, but in a cool year it can add a distinctly raw, under-ripe note to any blend.