A Row of Petit Manseng?

We decided to plant a row of Petit Manseng. We tasted several wines made from this varietal grape at different Virginia wineries. At the 2010 Drink Local Wine Conference held in Virginia, Petit Manseng was mentioned as a promising grape to grow in that state. In tastings, we discovered that is can be harvested in late August/early September and made into a dry wine. It can also be harvested in November/December and made into a late harvest dessert wine. It is very versatile. It offers a wonderful aroma of floral, citrus and tropical fruit. The taste will often suggest apricot and grapefruit, however when harvested late and made into a dessert wine there are honey notes. The acids are usually high enough to provide a crisp finish. The wine can be stainless steel aged or oak barrel aged.

Petit Manseng is a white variation of the Manseng grape from southern France. The berries are small and thick skinned. Typically yields per acre are small, three tons or less. Our grapes are from Double A Vineyards, Inc., Ferdonia, New York. They are on a 101-14 rootstock. This rootstock has low to moderate vigor and high resistance to Phylloxera.

Since we planted 24 vines, I don’t expect to harvest many grapes once the grape vines reach an age to produce harvesting grapes. I should be able to make a few cases though. There are going to be challenges with grape growing in Maryland. The few vines I have growing in my backyard have had problems with black rot for the last two seasons. Hopefully I have it under control this year. If you have an opportunity to try a varietal wine made with Petit Manseng, taste it. What do you think?

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