Lesser known grape varietal petit manseng is having a year. Horton Vineyard’s 2016 Petit Manseng won the 2019 Governor’s Cup, a statewide competition of bottles made with 100 percent Virginia fruit.
“White wines have historically been rare winners of the Governor’s Cup, and this is the first time a petit manseng has been the overall winner,” according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s press release. The Virginia Winery Association held its gala Thursday night in Richmond, where Gov. Ralph Northam announced the winners. Another petit manseng, one made by local legend Michael Shaps, made it into the Governor’s Cup Case.
As Virginia wines continue to make a name for themselves on the national stage, an award for petit manseng proves that growers are on the right course. “There comes a time in the maturation of every major viticultural region when its best producers segue from the grapes that everyone knows to those that thrive in the local conditions,” writes Bruce Schoenfeld for Saveur.
With petit manseng’s “tiny berries,” plus its “high, natural acidity” and “unusually thick skins, so they’re more likely to stay disease-free in humid weather,” writes Schoenfeld, makes it “perfect for America’s Piedmont.”
The full 2019 Governor’s Cup Case:
- Horton Vineyards 2016 Petit Manseng
- Barboursville Vineyards 2017 Vermentino Reserve
- Early Mountain Vineyards 2016 Eluvium
- Glen Manor Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc
- King Family Vineyards 2016 Mountain Plains
- King Family Vineyards 2016 Meritage
- Paradise Springs Winery 2015 Meritage
- Virginia Wine Works 2016 Hamlet Vineyards Eltham
- Virginia Wine Works 2016 Michael Shaps Petit Manseng
- Virginia Wine Works 2016 Michael Shaps Raisin d’Etre White
- Virginia Wine Works 2015 Michael Shaps Tannat
- Virginia Wine Works 2014 Upper Shirley Zachariah
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