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. Since then, the site has become the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news. Formerly the editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette, a contributor to Edible Brooklyn, wine columnist for Hamptons.com and regional editor for Appellation America covering the Long Island and Hudson River Valley regions, Lenn contributes to Edible East End, Palate Press, Patch and is the wine columnist for Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons. Lenn is also on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, a yearly regional wine immersion event for writers and bloggers. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating drinking 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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