2012 Late Harvest Petit Manseng
The entry starts noticeably sweet and unctuous, but then finishes with a refreshing acidity and pungency. Long.
Mango, almonds, and papaya.
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 .
2012 was back to some welcome degree of normalcy after the freakishly hot and dry 2010 and the rain soaked September of 2011. An extremely mild and dry winter gave us bud break a record 3 to 4 weeks earlier than average. Flowering was still 2 to 3 weeks early, but occurred under generally favorable conditions and we were looking at a generous crop across varieties. Mid summer was hot and precipitation was variable. The vines were never water stressed during the summer. Blocks on clay soils experienced luxuriant and to some degree, unwanted rampant growth. August is usually the time we have finished our work in the vineyard and head back to the cellar. In 2012 tropical conditions in August beckoned us back to the vineyard to pull more leaves around bunches, aerating the cluster zones as a precaution against rot. Ultimately, clusters were healthy, but berry size was large. Harvest began about 10 days early under typical September conditions. One day of rain was followed by a week of sun. Petit Manseng ripened well under cooler October conditions. Harvest was November 9, 2012.
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. This wine becomes more honeyed with age. Bottled in August 2014. 12.7% alcohol and 112 grams of residual sugar. 98 cases (375 ml) produced.