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Murphy-Goode Petit Verdot 1999
In the beginning, only the Murphy family's ranch and the Murphy-Goode Vineyard provided the grapes. Over the years, Murphy-Goode Winery steadily increased production, expanding the winery capacity and augmenting the harvest with fruit from the winery's "grower partners," local farmers and neighbors who shared the Murphy-Goode vision.
Initially the partners custom-crushed their grapes at a neighboring winery; consultant Merry Edwards guided the winemaking. After constructing a modest production facility on Tim Murphy's Alexander Valley ranch in 1987, they hired Winemaker Christina Benz. Chris made fifteen vintages of Murphy-Goode wine before turning the winemaking over to David Ready Jr. in 2001.
In recent years, the winery's focus has shifted from primarily white wine to distinctive red wines, particularly Bordeaux blends. Today, Murphy's three sons oversee the vineyards. Dave Ready's two sons make the wine. With exceptional grapes, inspired winemaking and the guiding values of the founding partners, the Murphy-Goode team is entering a fresh, new era of excellence.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.