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The 2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard Petit Manseng is Tablas Creek’s ninth bottling of this traditional grape from southwest France. Petit Manseng is best known from the appellation of Jurancon, where it has made admired but not widely disseminated sweet wines for centuries. Petit Manseng achieves sufficient concentration and sugar content -- and maintains its acids sufficiently -- to make naturally sweet, balanced wines without botrytis. This character was so valued that Petit Manseng is noted as the only wine to have been used to baptize a king of France: Henry IV, the founder of the Bourbon dynasty, in his native Navarre.
Medium gold. An exotic nose of citrus leaf, grilled pineapple, and chalky minerality. In the mouth, the wine begins lushly sweet, with flavors of pears in syrup, mango juice, and candied orange peel. Then the acids reassert themselves, suggesting lemon drop with a pithy bite. The very long finish splits the difference, with notes of tropical flowers, grilled citrus, sweet spices, and a spicy pink peppercorn note. A little sweeter and more intense than but reminiscent of a demi-sec Vouvray, for anyone with that as a reference point. Drink now or age for up to another decade for a nuttier character.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 100% Petit Manseng
- 13.8% Alcohol by Volume
- 180 500ml Cases Produced
Recipes & Pairings
- Foie gras
- Salty cheeses
- Fruit desserts
- Spicy Thai and Indian curries
We imported Petit Manseng in 2003 in the hopes of making a naturally sweet wine. The vines were released to us in 2006, and our first small vineyard block was planted in 2007. Over time, we have come to the conclusion that Petit Manseng is best used for off-dry wines: wines with residual sugar but less than our sweet Vin de Paille wines, with the grape's notably bright acids providing balance.
Our Petit Manseng grapes were grown on our certified organic and biodynamic estate vineyard.
The 2018 vintage saw an almost ideal balance of vine health and stress, as is often the case with the first dry year after a very wet one. Although rainfall was just 70% of normal, the rains came late, delaying the onset of bud-break and the beginning of the growing season. The cool weather continued most of the year, punctuated by a six-week heat wave in July and early August. But temperatures moderated before picking began, and harvest proceeded under slightly cooler than normal conditions, allowing us to pick without stress and producing fruit (and wines) with intense flavors and good balancing acidity.
Our Petit Manseng was harvested at 28.4° Brix and a pH of 3.13, we fermented it in barrel, and stopped its fermentation when it had about 85 grams/liter of sugar left and sat at an alcohol of 13.2%. This is a little sweeter than we've finished the Petit Manseng in recent years, but as usual the high acidity makes it taste much drier than the sugar reading would suggest. The wine was aged on its lees in barrel and bottled in June 2019.