Early Mountain Vineyards 2016 Petit Manseng

88 points

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
Region: Virginia
ABV: 14.9%
Price: $30

* Review sample provided by the winery

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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