2010 Late Harvest Petit Manseng
The entry starts noticeably sweet unctuous, but then finishes with a refreshing acidity and pungency.
Dried pineapple and papaya along with honey.
Rich, decadent, fatty and salty dishes; 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 .
Very hot dry conditions that were to be the hallmark of the entire growing season began in April. Bud break was two weeks early. Flowering was almost three weeks early with hot dry conditions continuing. Dry conditions reduced shoot growth, so only one light hedging was needed. Leaf pulling was kept to a minimum to avoid excess sun and heat on the clusters. Weed control and mowing was more meticulous than usual in order to reduce water competition with the vines. Fungicide sprays were minimal and terminated in July. A few critical rains in August prevented the vines from serious drought stress, but some of the young vines struggled to fill the canopy and started to yellow their basal leaves.
Petit Manseng sugars were high, acids low, flavors good. Grapes were very clean and healthy. The concern was that there was a lack of freshness and verve in the juice due to ripening under hot conditions.
100% Petit Manseng, the grapes are frozen and pressed while frozen. Only the first thawed juice is used (AKA icewine). The wine fermented slowly (18 months) in old French oak. This wine becomes more honeyed and spicier with age. Bottled in February 2013. 8.7% alcohol and 252 grams of residual sugar. 51 cases (375 ml) produced.