Early Mountain Vineyards 2016 Petit Manseng
A complex, distinctive nose begins with a burst of extremely ripe pineapple and peach with secondary and tertiary aromas of Earl Grey tea, honey, and lavender. Fermented in a combination of concrete, acacia, and oak -- this wine is all about texture and mouthfeel. Rich and concentrated, the palate isn't super fruity. Instead, savory notes of black tea, hazelnut and honey drive the flavor profile -- though there is a pop of pineapple-peach on the mid-palate too. Mouth-filling and mouth-coating, it's still very well balanced by gritty, juicy acidity. There is a bit of heat (it's labeled at 14.9% ABV after all) on a long but overall it wears it well.
It's really interesting to taste (and drink) a wine like this as Virginia winemakers continue to explore what Petit Manseng can and will be for the state. Most of the examples I've tasted have been sweet dessert styles or raised mostly in stainless steel. This wine certainly makes a case for a rich, unctuous-by-dry expression.
Producer: Early Mountain Vineyards
* Review sample provided by the winery