2009 Late Harvest Petit Manseng
Exotic dried tropical fruits and high notes of balsam and burnt sugar
The entry starts noticeably sweet and honeyed but then the wine switches course and finishes with a refreshing acidity and pungency.
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.
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. These small Petit Manseng blocks were planted in 2002 and 2006. Wine yield was 20hl/H .
2009 is best categorized as “uncommonly lucky”. It was a vintage that started as alarmingly awful and ended spectacularly sweet. May and early June were dreary, cool and damp. Flowering was from early to mid-June. Weather conditions had improved slightly and concerns of poor fruit set were largely unfounded, with the exception of vines on more vigorous soils. However, flowering was prolonged due to cooler temperatures. As the summer progressed, weather conditions improved. The remainder of June was manageable, July was typical with only the occasional thunderstorm and August was dry, but cooler than normal.
“Uncommonly lucky” refers to an amazingly dry stretch during harvest. Northern Virginia was spared from the significant rains that soaked areas to the north, east, south and west. It was a great vintage for white wines with bracing mineral acidity, good textural balance and ripe flavor profiles. Harvest was November 2, 2009
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 becomes more honeyed and spicier with age. Bottled in August 2011. 7.6% alcohol and 205 grams of residual sugar. 106 cases (375 ml) produced.