Journal | October 6, 2016
Yesterday’s picking of Petit Manseng was our earliest harvest date since we planted the variety in 2002. We’ve always made the wine in a Late Harvest style, but this year that style would not be appropriate. The hot weather in August and September resulted in acids that were too low to support the residual sugar of an intensely sweet wine. This is new territory for us. We will press the grapes today, settle the juice, and in a few days will start fermentation. We have the intention of making a wine with some residual sugar, but not a lot. This depends on how the balance feels once fermentation starts to wane. When we feel the balance is correct, the tank chiller will be turned on to stop yeast fermentation and therefor preserve the residual sweetness.
This style is referred to as demi sec, literally translated as “half-dry”. Usually the wines have perceptible sweetness, but the sugar is not dominate as in a Late Harvest wine. Lately we have been tasting benchmark examples of this style. If we were to emulate a wine it would be a Demi Sec Vouvray from our favorite producer, Domaine Huet. Even though Vouvrays are made from Chenin Blanc and have a different flavor profile, Petit Manseng can be texturally similar.