2019 Petit Manseng
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The 2019 Tablas Creek Vineyard Petit Manseng is Tablas Creek’s tenth 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 honey, citrus leaf, and grilled pineapple. In the mouth, the wine begins lushly sweet, like candied orange peel, then has notes of green shiso-like herbiness, followed by a pithy bite, and finally the acids come out and restore order. Sweet but light on its feet, with a spicy pink peppercorn note coming out on the finish. A little sweeter and more intense than but reminiscent of a demi-sec Vouvray, for anyone with that as a reference point. Would be amazing, we thought, with a salty cheese or lemon olive oil cake or prosciutto and melon. Drink now or age for up to another decade for a nuttier character.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 100% Petit Manseng
- 15.0% Alcohol by Volume
- 190 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 2019 vintage began with ample rainfall the preceding winter. The wet soils delayed budbreak to a little after normal, and a cool first half of the summer delayed flowering and the ripening of our earlier varieties. Beginning the second week of July, the weather turned warm but never so warm to engage the vines' self-defense mechanism of shutting down, accelerating ripening of our later varieties and producing intense flavors. The resulting compressed harvest was completed under ideal conditions and the vintage shows both concentration and freshness, with bright acids framing ample fruit.
Our Petit Manseng was harvested at 29.4° Brix and a pH of 3.36, we fermented it in barrel, and stopped its fermentation when it had about 90 grams/liter of sugar left. This is a little sweeter than most of our recent Petit Manseng vintages, but acids are high enough that it shows lovely lift to balance the sweetness. The wine was aged on its lees in barrel and bottled in June 2020.