2006 Late Harvest Petit Manseng

Aromas:

Pungent orange zest, candied grapefruit rinds and burnt sugar.

Palate:

Intensely focused and piercing with bracing acidity that plays off a dried apricot sweetness.

Food Pairings:

Rich, decadent main courses such as foie gras or desserts that feature fruits — especially apricots, peaches, pears or dried fruits. Very ripe triple cream cheeses and sheep cheeses from the Pyrenees and Virginia.

Vineyard:

Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier County, on top of the Blue Ridge at an elevation of 1300 feet on a northeastern slope. Deep, well-drained granitic soils. This small Petit Manseng block was planted in 2002. Wine yield was 20hl/H.

Vintage:

I would characterize the vintage as “classic” in that the growing season was about as close to typical as is possible. There were substantial swings in temperature and rainfall during the summer, but in fact, this is normal for Virginia. A dry spring and summer reduced vine vigor. I refer to September and October 2006 as the great obstacle course, with alternating sun and rain. Cooler temperatures kept acidities very high. Petit Manseng harvest was on November 9, 2006.

Winemaking:

100% Petit Manseng, the grapes are frozen and pressed while frozen. Only the first thawed juice is used (AKA icewine). The wine fermented slowly in old French oak and was stopped by chilling to retain fruit and sweetness. This wine should become more honeyed and spicier with age. Bottled in August 2007. 58 cases (375 ml) produced.