Very classic Late Harvest Petit Manseng with exotic fruits on the aroma and an intense, piercing acidity to balance a high residual sugar.
Rich triple cream cheese, dried fruit, or nuts.
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 15hl/H .
A very long, cold winter damaged some vines and delayed spring. We were prepared to reduce our potential yields by removing a significant amount of the clusters in July. A smaller crop would ripen faster.
However, July was beautiful. Dry, warm weather slowed the vegetative growth of the vines. Instead of putting energy into producing more leaves, which will happen in a wet summer, the vines put their energy into ripening the grapes. We knew something good was going to happen when veraison occurred sooner (and faster) than expected.
Spring and mid-summer lay the foundation of the vintage, but September through November determines the style, character, and quality of late harvest wines. The beginning of harvest for dry wines was typical of the “cat and mouse” picking strategies that we are all now accustomed to. A few days of sunny delightful weather followed by showers characterized the start of harvest.
Mid-September to early October was our big break with very little rain and mild temperatures, although it remained somewhat cloudy. Cool rains started in mid-October. A back and forth of sun and clouds allowed Petit Manseng to ripen slowly, retaining lots of acidity. Grape shriveling, which is typical and desired with Petit Manseng, began several weeks before harvest. Harvest was November 5, 2014.
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. 9.1% alcohol and 184 grams per liter of residual sugar. 59 cases of 375ml bottles produced.