Petit Verdot vs Pinot Noir


Petit Verdot vs Pinot Noir is a good exercise because these are two very distinctive red wines.

Petit Verdot has more color, tannin, and body than Pinot Noir. Petit Verdot is black-fruited. Pinot Noir has red fruit, higher acid, and a lighter body.

TL;DR: If you like Pinot Noir’s easy-drinking, mellow tannin, and bright red fruit and dislike big red wines, you’re probably not going to enjoy Petit Verdot. These are very different red wine styles.

Here’s what you need to know about Petit Verdot vs Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir Basics: A Burgundian Classic

what does pinot noir wine tastes like - petit verdot vs pinot noir

Pinot Noir is originally from the Burgundy region of France and today you’ll find wines made from Pinot Noir made around the world, including Oregon, California, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Pinot Noir is an aromatic red wine grape known for its red cherry and cranberry aromas, along with a floral profile. (Check out this comprehensive guide to Pinot Noir wines.)

Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Noir can go be Red Burgundy. If you ask for a Red Burgundy at a restaurant or wine shop, you’ll get a Pinot Noir.

Petit Verdot Basics: A Robust Companion

what does petit verdot wine taste like - pinot noir vs petit verdot

Petit Verdot, originating from Bordeaux as well, provides a bold and robust experience. While historically used as a blending grape, Petit Verdot has gained recognition for its individual character.

Its flavor profile encompasses dark fruit, such as blackberry and plum, coupled with hints of spice and a touch of floral aromatics.

Fun Wine Fact: Petit Verdot, translating to “little green,” alludes to the late ripening of its small, thick-skinned berries.

Wine Comparison: Pinot Noir vs. Petit Verdot

Here’s a brief side-by-side comparison covering the predominant styles of Pinot Noir vs Petit Verdot wines.

CharacteristicsPetit VerdotPinot Noir
HueDeep purple to almost blackPale ruby
AromasDark fruit, violet, herbalRed berries, red currant, wet leaf
spice, mushroom
TanninsHighLow to medium minus
AcidMedium to Medium PlusMedium to Medium Plus
Alcohol (%)13-15.5%12-14%
BodyFullLight to medium
IntensityMedium plus to pronouncedMedium plus to pronounced
Key Growing RegionsFrance (Bordeaux), Spain, United StatesBurgundy (France), Oregon, Sonoma
and Coastal California, Chile, Australia, New Zealand
Classic PairingsGrilled meats, game, aged cheeses, hearty stewsCream sauces, risottos, white meat
Price Range$20-$50$10-$80

Petit Verdot Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Petit Verdot wines are dry.
  • Alcohol: Petit Verdot wines typically have a higher alcohol content, ranging from around 14% to 15.5% ABV.
  • Body: Petit Verdot is known for its full body and robust structure, fuller than Pinot Noir.
  • Acid: Petit Verdot has medium plus acid, about the same as Pinot Noir, maybe a little less.
  • Tannins: Petit Verdot showcases firm and gripping tannins, adding to its powerful and bold character, much more pronounced than Pinot Noir wines.
  • Flavors: The flavor profile often includes dark fruit notes like blackberry and plum, accompanied by hints of herbs and purple floral undertones.

Helpful Tip: Pop over to this 30-second tasting tip to learn how to taste wine tannins.

Pinot Noir Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Pinot Noir is almost always made in a dry style unless it is an inexpensive bulk wine.
  • Alcohol: Pinot Noir wines typically feature moderate alcohol content, a little less than Petit Verdot wines, around 12%-14% ABV
  • Acid: Pinot Noir tends to have medium to medium (+) acid, maybe a little higher than Petit Verdot.
  • Body: Pinot Noir is lighter in body than Petit Verdot, medium or medium (-)
  • Tannins: Pinot Noir tends to have low to medium tannins that are very smooth and much less pronounced than Petit Verdot.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Vibrant red fruit flavors like cranberry, raspberry, and red cherry, accompanied by floral notes and sometimes even a wet earth and tea leaf.

Are Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir Similar?

Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir share certain characteristics. Both are dry red wines that are often oaked, giving them spice and toasty notes.

What Is the Difference Between Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir?

Petit Verdot is a big red wine with intense dark fruit flavors and robust tannins, while Pinot Noir leans towards a lighter, more elegant style with delicate red fruit notes and softer tannins.

Petit Verdot vs. Pinot Noir: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

petit verdot vs pinot noir - carbonara pasta
  • Pinot Noir is a more delicate wine with nuanced red cherry flavors. Look to dishes that can use a little brightening up, like risotto, salads, and roasted white meats.
  • Petit Verdot: Petit Verdot, with its robust structure and intense dark fruit profile, pairs exceptionally well with hearty dishes like grilled steaks and rich stews.

Personal Note: Petit Verdot is my go-to rainy night and lentil soup wine.

Both Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir benefit from a slightly cooler serving temperature. Place them in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes before serving to reach the ideal temperature. Petit Verdot may benefit from a slightly longer time outside the refrigerator to allow its bold flavors to unfold.

Discover More:
Red Wine and Cheese Pairing: What You Need to Know
Pinot Noir Cheese Pairing Guide

Which Is More Expensive, Pinot Noir vs. Petit Verdot?

When it comes to comparing wines, it’s helpful to think about bottle cost.

Petit Verdot Cost

  • Entry-level Petit Verdot wines are a little more expensive, around $20 to $30 per bottle. These wines provide a robust and flavorful experience at a reasonable cost.
  • On the premium side, Petit Verdot from boutique producers commands prices ranging from $35 to $50 or higher. The investment often reflects the craftsmanship and intensity that these wines bring to the table.

Pinot Noir Cost

  • Pinot Noir wines are widely available at various price points. You’ll find budget-friendly Pinot Noir starting around $5 USD. These wines, while more affordable, are typically made in an off-dry (slightly sweet) style.
  • Pinot Noir starts to get interesting around $18-$25 USD.
  • Premium Pinot Noir wines, sourced from renowned regions, can easily cost you $45 – $80+ USD.

Which Is Better Petit Verdot or Pinot Noir?

If you favor bold, intense red wines with a powerful presence, Petit Verdot will be the better choice. If you appreciate lighter, more delicate red wines with nuanced flavors, Pinot Noir is the better wine.

Personal Note: Petit Verdot isn’t a beginner’s red wine. It can be off-putting to wine drinkers who don’t like the drying tannins in robust red wines.

Final Thoughts – Petit Verdot or Pinot Noir?

Both Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir have distinctive wine profiles that fall on opposite ends of the red wine spectrum.

As always, I’m a big advocate for experiencing these two varietals side by side. Grab two bottles of similarly priced Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir, invite friends over, and enjoy an evening of sipping.

Petit Verdot wine offers a bold and robust drinking experience, making it a fantastic choice for those seeking a powerful red wine with chewy tannins. If you’re in the mood for a more delicate and nuanced wine, Pinot Noir makes for an elegant and refined option.

Thirsty for More?

I’m a big believer in doing side-by-side tastings to boost your wine knowledge. Here’s how to host your own wine tasting for beginners.

Check out this post on Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot, another popular red wine, along with Cabernet Sauvignon vs Malbec, and Shiraz vs Merlot.

The best way to learn about wines is through side-by-side comparisons with wine flights. I highly suggest DIY wine flights. Check out this post I put together to get you started with wine flights.

Aaaand… Here’s a post that I put together with wine tasting essentials. Things that I use every day in my wine life. Check it out!

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