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Virginia Petit Manseng vs. Virginia Viognier

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drifting off target, but I'm glad you mentioned petit manseng. The '13 at Delaplane is awesome. And recently tried Glen Manor's '13 petit manseng too. Jeff's wife, Kelly, paired it excellently with candied ginger in the tasting room. Currently, I much prefer the pm's over Virginia's viognier.

This is an interesting, and someone out-of-the-mainstream statement - and one that I don't necessarily disagree with.

Would you expand on it some more, plarkins, perhaps citing some examples as you go?



Dave and plarkins, are you each (or both) talking about Glen Manor only, or Virginia wines in general?

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I ave never been a fan of Virginia Viognier in general.  In fact, I have not been a fan of Viognier in general from France.  When done right, they are amazing: Great notes of citrus and lime coupled with an exotic, heady nose. The key to a great Viogner, IMP, is acidity and an edge of ust barelly rip grape picking.  But given a slight overcropping or a little too much heat and Viognier comes off as insipid, flabby and dull.  While I have had a few Viogner that escape the negative side, all too often Viogner is a really forgettable wine.

We just had Jeff and Kelly for a wine dinner where we served 2 petrite mansings.  To be honest, I don't really recall having had a PM before.  The table style wine was bright with aggressive acidity which Jeff balanced with a touch of residual sweetness, yielding a full flavored wine with spice and tropical tones.  Alone the wine was striking.  But paired with a couple of pork rich fruit dishes, the wine showed off its minerality .  The dessert style was lush and delightful to drink on its own.  Again adding a fruit dessert sowed off its textural side.  These PMs were stunning and convinced me that this is a grape worth  exploring.

One caveat: these also were the wines of Jeff White.  He is very much an outlier when it comes to winemaking in Virginia.  He has a track record of making wines with great balance and letting the grapes tell him where to take the winemaking.  So while I am looking forward to exploring PM more, I realized that my tiny experience with PM from Jeff is not a representative one.

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Delaplane's '13 PM is its equal.  They are both outstanding.  I've had a number of pm's around the state but these two are superior to any other. Jeff also makes a '11 Raepheus which is a late harvest petit manseng. (Is this what you mentioned by a "dessert style?")  It is a superb wine that is rich and voluptuous.  I had a bottle of it a week ago and can only imagine what it will taste like five years from now.  I don't believe Jim Dolphin does a dessert wine, at least not yet.  They are good friends, by the way.

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Jeff actually added some Raepheus to the '13 petit manseng to balance the acidity. Thought that was pretty interesting.

Don, I was referring to Virginia as a whole, although I've had many more viogniers than petit mansengs. Personally, I've been drawn to higher acidic and mineralarity in whites lately. I agree with Dean, you just don't get the acidity in Virginia's viognier as you do with petit manseng. I've had good viognier at Delaplane, Veritas, Zephaniah Farm, and Chester Gap (after some aging for CG). If i have to pick between Deplane's viognier or petit manseng, pm is the easy choice though. Other places have made good viognier I'm sure, but more often than not they will be like Dean stated. Zephaniah apparently grows petit manseng, but I don't remember tasting it. I can't recollect who else grows/makes it, but again I agree with Joe, no pm will match Jeff or Jim's in VA. Virginia is for Viognier is easy to market and there's more of it planted, but hopefully petit manseng gets more attention. I can't speak to how it behaves in the vineyard versus viognier, but that could be a factor. Also, viognier is from Rhone vs lesser known regions of SW France for petit manseng. Not that that should matter, but folks probably have gravitated to viognier after hearing its a Rhone varietal.

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