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Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 1.30.02 PMHappy New Years Eve! What do you do on New Year Eve? We bounced around back in forth of doing an event at a hotel with a five course meal and paired wine to sitting at home and just watching the coverage of New York. I always find that there is no perfect/affordable/reasonable thing to do. Tonight we are going to a nice dinner and then probably watching the ball drop at our house or a friends house.

Today’s review is one of my most favorite grapes that Virginia makes which is Petit Verdot. It is usually expensive and I am told that is because it’s berries are so small and the yield per acre can be low. This is my first chance at a California version with the 2011 Carlton Brooke by Ty Caton Sandy Brooke Vineyards Petit Verdot from Sonoma Valley.

Currently, on Ty Caton’s website they have the 2012 listed and it is already sold out. California is pretty consistent and they do have the tasting sheet for that wine. Now the 2011 wine was sold at Vinesse and is also sold out but what was going for $39.99, which is not a whole more more than some Virginia versions. Here are their tasting notes:

This full-bodied, nicely textured wine offers notes of black cherry, blackberry, licorice, roasted nuts, chocolate and caramel.

“Hands on.” That’s the approach taken by winemaker Ty Caton.

By using estate-grown grapes, and personally tending to the wine from soil to glass, Caton is able to have complete control over the process. Considering that soil is in California’s Sonoma Valley, home to some of the world’s most acclaimed vineyards, it’s a process that makes perfect sense.

“Our limited production allows us to handcraft wines with varietal intensity and balance,” Caton says. “We achieve wines of authenticity by working with nature to showcase the true flavors of the grapes.” Case in point: the 2011 Carlton Brooke Petit Verdot, made from grapes grown in the SandyBrooke Vineyards — named after his parents, Carlton Brooke and Sandy Caton.

This is the third vintage of this wine, which defines “handcrafted,” given its production of just 371 cases. Shortly after we procured it, the wine earned a coveted medal in the San Francisco Wine Competition.

So what did I think? How did this compare to the Virginia versions?

Color – Dark ruby red.

Nose – Bright red fruit maybe cranberry and a little hint of vanilla bean.

Taste – Bright red fruit again maybe intense raspberry or pomegranate.

Finish – Long with medium to high acid and rounded tannins.

Overall, this wine was bold with bright fruit forward flavors. It really filled your mouth with those flavors. Compared to a Virginia Petit Verdot, it was a little more on the red fruit side and had slightly more oak influences. I did have a hard time naming the fruit but it is still a good wine. I don’t know if it beats most Virginia Petit Verdot’s but very good nonetheless.

Rating: A

~Justin