93 Points & 'Cellar Selection' -Wine Enthusiast
The wine is rich, honeyed and full of ripe marmalade and apricot jelly flavors. At the same time, it has the fine shot of acidity and crispness that gives Jurançon its elegance and individuality. This is delicious to drink now, although it would be much better to wait and drink it from 2019. -Wine Enthusiast
Petit Manseng, Other White
Jurançon, Southwest France
“Deeply rooted in the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Petit Manseng grape is one of France’s best-kept wine secrets,” writes Decanter. Our intrepid Sourcing Team went out looking for a masterpiece made from this as yet undiscovered variety, and brought back one the top wines produced in the whole of France’s southwest.
Winner of 93 points and a Cellar Selection designation from the Wine Enthusiast, which writes: “The wine is rich, honeyed and full of ripe marmalade and apricot jelly flavors. At the same time, it has the fine shot of acidity and crispness that gives Jurançon its elegance and individuality. This is delicious to drink now, although it would be much better to wait and drink it from 2019.”
How to explain a wine that is absolutely not dry and yet is designed to drink with food? Start with the grapes themselves, as this 100% Petit Manseng shows off the varietal’s impressive natural acidity. Then consider the particular, painstaking way this Manseng was harvested. Left on the vine well into November, the grapes are at maximum ripeness with many clusters beginning to actually dry on the vine. Only those grapes that are at the absolutely height of ripeness are brought into the winery. Remember, dear Members, eking out the precious liquid inside these partially dried grapes is not easy. This liquid gold is viscous and high in sugar, and if left to ferment to completion would produce a high-test beverage ringing in at more than 20% alcohol.
Never fear, fermentation was halted when the ABV reached a lovely 14%, leaving a substantial portion of residual sugar in the final product, but balanced by Petit Manseng’s exotic citrus and woodsy spice notes. And so this Tout un Histoire is a study in contrasts—rich and ethereal, sweet and tart—all in balance and dancing together on the palate with the grace and apparent ease of a full symphony playing in utter harmony. Splendid with foie gras, cheese, salt cod and sweet and sour preparations of duck, chicken or pork. Vinous encounters like this are why we love the wine business.
- The fruit for this rarity is harvested by hand, naturally, and over the course of many separate pickings (with the last pass through the vineyard occurring as late as January!).
- This winery dates back to 1685, and in the modern age has been in the hands of the Lacoste family for four generations and counting. Domaine Nigri is currently managed by winemaker Jean Louis Lacoste.
- The French poet Colette was a famous fan of Petit Manseng and once wrote: "I was a girl when I met this prince; aroused, imperious, treacherous, as all great seducers are."
- Aging on fine lies for up to 11 months nurtures this masterpiece and gives the final wine an savory and nearly indescribable character.
Very aromatic, as a Dry Petit Manseng it is sort of like dry Rieslings or dry Gewurztraminers.
Alphabetically: apricot, baked apples, baked pear, beeswax, brown sugar, cinnamon, citrus peel, green apple, honey, honeysuckle flower, lemon curd, lemon marmalade, melon, mint leaves, orange marmalade, pineapple, popcorn [sic], ripe grapefruit, roasted almonds, ruby grapefruit, walnuts, white peach, and last but not least the inevitable "touch of stony minerality". We reckon you get the idea.
Inside Fact: Petit manseng is grown for its floral fruity flavours along with high acidity and is increasing in popularity in the Languedoc and in California. It is only rarely bottled as a monovarietal, or even dominating ingredient of a blend, except as sweet wine.
Wines have been grown by the family on this 13 Ha property in the Jurancon since about 1685.
The Lacoste family ran the property for four generations. The vineyard is in biologic conversion with innovative growth practices (organic) respecting the environment, the human person and the vine’s health. The winery is organized meticulously. The winery is modern and very clean, with air-conditioned aging rooms.
The geological diversity of the soils, combined with the grape-varieties and painstaking work, give to the domaine’s wines originality and a highly complex aromatic expression. The grape-varieties are harvested separately and vinified parcel by parcel in order to express all the aromatic potentials and soil diversity. An aging on fine lies of 6 to 11 months helps to nurture the wine to acquire an extraordinary identity.
The aromatic nature of this dry wine made from Petit Manseng could be paired with lightly spiced Asian dishes, say Thai style prawns with coriander, lemon grass and ginger, sliced fish and green curry. Also ideal with smoked duck breast and fragrant lamb curry.