Many of the grapes that are commonly grown in Virginia are originally from France and Petit Manseng is no different. It is primarily grown in southwest France between the province of Gascony and the Pyrenees mountains bordering Spain. In more recent years it has found another home in Virginia and is gaining popularity around the state.
Another interesting fact about Petit Manseng is that not only does it have the highest brix (sugar level at time of harvest) of any grape we bring to the winery, but also has one of the highest acidity levels. For most grapes when the sugars begin to increase, the acidity then starts to decrease, not so much for this grape. Higher brix also means higher alcohol potential during fermentation when the sugar converts into alcohol. Petit Manseng is also a versatile wine that can be made into delightful dessert/late harvest wines or, like ours, which is dry.
Let’s talk about Bluestone’s Petit Manseng. Currently we are on our 2019 vintage and the fruit came from several vineyards in Nelson County, Virginia: Silver Creek and Lovingston. Once the fruit arrived at the vineyard the grapes were whole cluster pressed, then fermented cool in 30% new French oak and aged sur lie (on the lees) for 10 months. The weight of the wine is offset by the acidity and aromatics, such as orange blossom, honey and baking spices. On the palate it has notes of grilled pineapple and honeysuckle with a long finish.
So what does one pair with a wine like this? That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked! A wine like this that has a good amount of acidity and is also full bodied is a natural pairing for a variety of foods year round. To match the acidity and weight, fresh combinations like Caprese salad, oysters on the half shell or swordfish in lemon sauce are a natural pair.
Now for the shiny medals we’ve recently won with this beautiful wine. On the west coast we were awarded Double Gold and Best in Class at the International Eastern Wine Competition (East Meets West) and scored a 96/100 points! Closer to home we were awarded not only Gold for our Petit Manseng, but we were one of twelve wines featured in the 2021 Governor’s Case! We also brought home two other golds from the Governor’s Cup as well this year: our 2017 Chardonnay and 2014 Merlot.
Thanks for reading this edition of Out of the Barrel! If you would like to come by and try our award winning Petit Manseng or any of our other wines, come by during our tasting room hours Monday-Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 1-6. Hope everyone is safe and well and we look forward to seeing you soon! Cheers!