As cold snaps begin to descend upon us here on the North Fork, we look to find solace in heartier beverages. We seek wines and beers that provide a bit more grit and weight – darker beers and bold, full-bodied red wines. My trusted friends this time of year are the Porter, with its roasted malty goodness and it’s wine compatriot, Petit Verdot, whose spice profile and rich blackberry notes light the fire of warmth on my palate and in my belly. These two hearty souls are the topic of today’s blog.
The English style porter has been around for centuries with links back to London in the 1700s. This roasty, malt-forward beer was one of the first to be mass produced and was very popular with the transit workers of London, or “Porters,” which is how it got its name. Porters today are usually between 4-7% alcohol, which is moderate for a craft beer and begs the question – why do I liken it to our big, bold Petit Verdot over a big imperial stout? Two words: glorious bitterness! One of my favorite porters is made a few miles from Lieb at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Their Black Duck Porter carries a balance between roasted malt, subtle hints of bitter dark chocolate and coffee and a distinct bitter hop note. Upon sipping it again just recently, our Petit Verdot immediately came to mind.
Petit Verdot originated in Bordeaux, France, but due to its temperament and late-ripening tendencies, mostly fell out of favor in that region. It’s now making its comeback, however, as a single varietal in the New World. Here on Long Island’s North Fork, we can only produce a stand alone Petit Verdot in the best years, when warm, dry seasons push the Petit Verdot to full ripeness. Luckily for us, and our taste buds, 2014 just so happened to have the weather we needed. On the nose, our 2014 Petit Verdot shows berry and cherry notes, a hint of pipe tobacco and slight herbaceous kick. Upon first sip, blackberries coat my palate, followed by an herbal and peppery finish. It packs a bunch of flavor into every sip, which is exactly what I crave this time of year, and its bitter finish is keenly reminiscent of the finish on the Black Duck Porter. If you were to sip them side by side (which I totally recommend), you’ll definitely be able to pick this up.
So as the frosty air continues to move in, it’s important to keep the right supplies on hand. Take it from me, you don’t want to be snowed in without our 2014 Petit Verdot and Greenport Harbor’s Black Duck Porter to warm your soul. Both are readily available at their respective local tasting rooms. Stay stocked and stay warm, guys! Summer will be there before we know it!
Tasting Room Associate & Resident Craft Beer Guy