By Andrew Hodson | Veritas Vineyard and Winery, Charlottesville, VA
Believe it or not there is also a grape called Gros Manseng, the “petit” and “gros”refer to the actual size of the grapes themselves, petit is small and gros is big. So Petit Manseng is a grape with small berries originally from the south west region of France called Jurancon. Emily and I first experienced the wine when we visited the region in 2002 -we were sold and as soon as we got back we arranged to plant the vine and grow the wine. Our first harvest was in 2004, wines that we still have in our Veritas library some of the oldest Petit Manseng in Virginia second only to Horton Cellars.
Horton won the Governor’s Cup with Petit Manseng in 2019.
The grape is unique in many ways. First and foremost it has a very thick skin and the berries are small two properties that tell you the wines are strongly flavored (Think of Petit Verdot) and in addition the thickness of the skin makes the grape doubly resistant to diseases like Downy and Powdery mildew, one of the downsides to grape growing in Virginia. Another hugely important property is that the grape naturally contains very high concentrations of acid an essential feature in the aging of wine. Of all the grapes we grow, Petit Manseng has the highest levels of acid by far.
PMS comes in different styles the most common is one the French call Moelleux -the word means soft gentle just a bit sweeter than off dry. But here’s the thing, the high acid content balances the delicate sweetness so it hardly tastes sweet, hence the sense of softness and gentleness.
For most of our winemaking history with Petit Manseng we have made the wine in the Moelleux style, actually up to 2016. Over that time more and more wineries in Virginia had planted PMS and were producing the wine in a drier style and that’s what we did for 2017 and 2018.
In 2018 not only did we produce a drier style PMS but we also fermented the wine on the skins (like a red wine) known as an Orange wine. Our Veritas Wine Club knows that we like to make exclusive wines for wine club members so we named this wine one of our Momentarius select wines.
As you may know my daughter Emily Hodson is our Award Winning Winemaker here at Veritas Vineyard and Winery. During this COVID time she and I have enjoyed coming together to do virtual tastings every other week.
Our next tasting coming up next Thursday June 25th, we are going to compare the 2016 Moelleux – (off dry) with our 2018 (drier) with 2018 Momentarius (drier Orange wine.)
We have bundled the three wines as a wine special for the week, we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to join along and taste with us.
A descriptor from our first harvest :
A seductive aroma of tropical fruits, Pina Colada, Pineapple and Cinnamon arouse the senses to experience the smooth, mouth filling enticingly delicate flavors of this unique grape.
The “special” Wines
The wine is a fairly deep lemon gold with fairly intense aromas of honey, pineapple, ripe grapefruit, beeswax, vanilla, orange creme and citrus peel. On the palate the wine is medium bodied with fairly high acidity. Unlike any of the other wines, this one was just off-dry. The flavor palette was honeysuckle flower, pineapple, golden apples and beeswax.
Teaser to taste Momentarius:
This wine boasts notes of dry fig, orange peel, and a soft tannin structure on the palate –
2018 Petit Manseng
Petit Manseng has a small berry packed with tremendous tropical aromas and flavors. Wonderfully enticing on the nose with layers of lush pineapple, apricot and light floral notes.
I thought it would be fun to talk about this grape before we did our virtual tasting and just between you and I this is really a great deal with a wine that is becoming ever more popular in Virginia.
These three wines discounted to an amazing price of $60.00. $90.00 a 30% discount (why do we do these things? – we want to share a taste of our labors in new ways that excite and grow your love for wine.)
We hope you will take us up on this fantastic offer of the trio of Petit Manseng and join us for our virtual tasting, June 25th, 5:00pm EST on FACEBOOK LIVE.
We look forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor with you there.
Raconteur and Diletante
Looking forward to tasting when we visit Virginia. Is it served in your tasting room?
The 2018 Petit Manseng is currently available by the bottle in our Tasting Room. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Hi. I have unearthed a 2005 bottle of petit manseng. Is it still good to drink?
I opened a 2004 Petit Manseng recently and depending on your own palate/preferences it was acceptable if you enjoy slightly oxidized wines like sherry.
2005 would probably have the same bias but definitely worth opening.