This Late Harvest Petit Manseng is all about the minimalist mentality of Tarara winemaking. Our first late harvest style wine in years and it blows down the doors. The wine was allowed to just slowly ferment for 10 months in Virginia and Jupilles Oak until naturally ending the way it stands. Juicy and powerful but has great acidity also making it food friendly and elegant.
||October 28, 2010
||Several Barriques - 16 months
||New Virginia Oak
||Neutral Jupilles forest French oak
||Second Use Jupilles Oak
||barrel - 10 months
||March 15, 2012
Almost 24 Karat gold in color, this wine shows incredible intensity starting on the nose with rose petal, pineapple, mango, caramel and cinnamon characters. The palate is rich and mouth coating showing just unheard of concentration. The fruit comes flying through that palate as well with some great sweet oak and vanilla tones leading to a mouth filling finish that finally shows the well balanced acidity that keep the sugar and alcohol all in check.
87 Points - Wine Enthusiast - Rich, with restrained intensity, this has aromas of toasted graham-cracker crumb, spiced orange marmalade, peach preserves and wilted rose. It feels slightly pudgy on the midpalate, with a tapering finish that ends on a buttered-caramel note. — A.H. (3/1/2013)
The Honah Lee Vineyard is a steep South East facing slope sitting at about 1300 feet elevation in the mountains just outside Orange, VA. The soils consist of hard red clay leading to more fruit driven wines. The wines tend to get very exotic characters to them while maintaining a balance of acidity due to their great sunlight exposure, as well as the cooler nights from the elevation. The vines are all trained on cordon pruned vertical shoot positioning to best collect sunlight exposure and minimize pressures. We have worked with Honah Lee since 2007 when we first made D9 from their Touriga Nacional. Now we source Viognier, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Pinotage from Honah Lee.
The 2010 vintage simply put was hot and dry. With Loudoun County and Monticello receiving really no recordable precipitation from May until October we knew that berry weights were going to be down significantly. This is the result of less water in the fruit and therefore creates more intense concentration. That coupled with the record breaking heat that we received (many 100+ days) the fruit in 2010 is exotic, rich, fruit driven and powerful. The sugars far outpaced the ripening of flavors, phenolic ripeness and acidity ripeness so one should expect higher alcohols then in any other vintage in Virginia, which should be well balanced still by the intensity of fruit and pure power of the wines.
Even though the season was uncharacteristically hot and dry, there was also very low humidity which was a nice change for us in Loudoun and most of Virginia. This caused some of the healthiest vines we have seen and the least hands on work that was needed. The Winter leading up to the growing season saw record snow falls which left the soil with the moisture needed to help maintain health without the need of any irrigation, while still not being abundant and causing any dilution issues. The crop was incredibly small with even less yield from the fruit meaning that the 2010’s will not be in large supply, although they are expected to be in large demand.
While the 2010’s might not be the best expression of our terroir in general, the wines are of a different style that many will find very enjoyable. These wines are about extraction, richness, exuberant fruit, and exotic character, as apposed to our normal elegant yet powerful styles that most of our vineyards offer.
Given the incredible heat we were awarded and lack of rain in 2010 we were able to make our first successful traditional late harvest wine since 2004. The Petit Manseng grapes thrived in the dry heat of 2010 and were able to hang until an incredible 32.6 brix (just over 19% potential alcohol) which is perfect for late harvest. The grapes did not need to be dehydrated, frozen, or artificially concentrated in anyway. Mother nature did it all for us. Since this is a wine we usually can’t make, we decided to have some fun in the cellar. Half of the wine spent 30 days on the skins to get further palate weight and structure, while the other half was whole cluster pressed anaerobically to preserve the aromatics. It was all fermented on indigenous yeast and slowly fermented in barrels for 8 months before finally stopping at 15.5% alcohol. The wine spent a total of 16 months in barrel gaining complexity and becoming a well integrated, concentrated, rich wine. The wine was cold stabilized, filtered and bottled in March 2012.
Although this is a dessert wine, it really shines best with more savory final dished like a great cheese plate of Talbot Reserve, Epoisses and Roquefort accompanied with candied walnuts and shaved high cocoa (75%+) chocolate.