2013 Late Harvest Petit Manseng $28.00 (375ml)
Aroma: mango, apricot, and papaya.
Flavors: Starts with loads of tropical fruit, but then finishes with an elegant tang. Long.
Food Pairings: 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.
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. These small Petit Manseng blocks were planted in 2002 and 2006. Wine yield was 20hl/H .
Vintage: 2013 was a difficult growing season that metamorphosed into a fabulous fall harvest. Bud break was very late. Most of the summer was wet, resulting in unruly vegetative growth and extra vineyard work. August continued this pattern until the last week when the weather broke.
Every vintage has its personality. Much like raising children, some vintages are easy, but most are not. Wet vintages require more intervention and guidance as the vines, through no fault of their own, take on a bit of a wild streak. Ample water availability during the growing season makes vines unruly, like kids fed too much sugary junk food. This was the case for the growing season of 2013. Until September.
September defines the quality and style of the wine. The bad behavior of the previous six months can be easily forgiven and forgotten if September is bright and sunny. September 2013 rewarded us for all our diligence during the growing season. The wild child of summer finally found a niche and thrived into early adulthood. With the exception of one very brief rain shower, we had no rain in September. This is quite remarkable in the mid Atlantic. In autumn, dusty gravel roads and brown grass gladden the winemaker’s heart. Days were warm and sunny, nights were very cool. Ripening was slow, preserving very fresh acidity and aromatics. Petit Manseng ripened well under cooler October conditions. Harvest was October 19, 2013.
Winemaking: 100% Petit Manseng, the grapes are frozen and pressed while frozen. Only the first thawed juice is used (a.k.a. ice-wine). The wine fermented slowly in old French oak. This wine becomes more honeyed with age. Bottled in February 2016. 11.0% alcohol and 76 grams of residual sugar. 85 cases of 375ml bottles and 33 cases of 750ml bottles produced.