November 30, 2023
Petit Manseng: Tiny & Mighty
Through Virginia Wine’s evolution, winemakers have discovered the grape varieties and wines that are defining the state. Crafting wines that could not have come from any other time or place. Wines that are elegant, expressive, and unmistakably Virginia.
With over thirty 30 varieties planted, winemakers and viticulturists have become fluent in the language of the land, planting grapes that are well suited to Virginia’s varied soils and farming quality fruit year after year.
Many of the note-worthy grapes you’ll find here are unsung heroes who have grown to greatness. Grapes like Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Petit Manseng, and Petit Verdot– relative obscurities and bit-players in Old World wine traditions—are taking center stage in Virginia. These grapes are much like the story of Virginia Wine (and the story of Virginia itself), a tale of secondary characters from the Old World who learned to thrive in a new environment. Read along as we uncover more about the grapes defining Virginia.
Petit Manseng: Tiny & Mighty
Despite its small grapes, it has thick skins causing this Virginia varietal to turn heads with its dynamic flavors
With the vast diversity of grape varieties found across the world, Petit Manseng is quite unique and, likely, an unfamiliar variety to many wine enthusiasts outside of Virginia. Here, Petit Manseng bodes a full-bodied texture that makes distinctive dry white wines but also survives late into the season to make just as wonderful off-dry and dessert wines.
Petit Manseng is the white wine variation of the black Manseng grape, and gets its name from its small stature and its origin in the Southwest of France in the appellation of Jurançon. Historically, the small (but mighty) grape has been known for its ability to produce sweet wines, celebrated for its rich and honeyed characteristics. However, Petit Manseng is making waves with its dynamic flavors and versatility as it has begun to thrive in Virginia’s growing climate.
Wines made with Petit Manseng offer aromas of candied fruit, honey, and spice that are complemented with expressive flavors of roasted pineapple, peach, and green apple.
Dry Petit Manseng is both rich and acidic, allowing it to pair with everything from salads, to seafood with buttery sauces, to spicy Thai dishes. In its sweeter incarnation, it can create a synergy with fresh summer fruits and desserts like tarts and cobblers. Tiny and mighty, Petit Manseng is a single varietal with the range to help kick off the evening with Virginia oysters on the half shell, then wind it down with an after-dinner sipper.
Virginia Petit Manseng exemplifies our winemaker’s journey in discovering varieties that are best suited to the land, and offers an opportunity for wine enthusiasts to broaden their horizons. As you begin to explore, you’ll find an exciting range of styles across the state.