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Petit Manseng

petit-manseng

Name & Etymology:
The real meaning of Manseng is difficult to discern.  Several ideas face each other.  The most credible one today is the one according to which Manseng comes from the Oc “Manseng”, itself derived from the latin “Mansus”.  Mansus is to be linked to whatever relates to important houses, like manors.  Vines cultivated in those places where called “noble” vines, giving quality wines.  This can be explained by the conformation of the grapes and the low yields.  Another explanation would be the linking to a geographical place of origin.  We find in literature a few names of places linked to the word “Mans” but there’s no real ground to find a true concordance.  Lastly, we find in Spain close names such as the Mencia vine or even vines close from an ampelographic point of view like Albariño. Current genetic techniques should be able in the near future to give us an answer to this hypothesis.  Finally, Petit relates to the size of the berries and the yields.  Petit Manseng is therefore considered as the most qualitative of the Manseng vines.

Synonyms:
The dissemination area of Manseng is rather small.  Therefore, there is no real synonymy.  Only the term “Mansengou” is sometimes found to distinguish the Petit Manseng from the Gros Manseng.

Colour:     White

Geographical origin:
Petit Manseng comes from the Pyrenean Piedmont in its western part.  It is actually in Jurançon that it has found acclaim.

Filiations:
There is no clear filiation defined today; the only certain thing is the correlation between the two types of Manseng.  They belong to the same vine population.

Appellations using it and / or major production areas abroad:
It is not a well spread vine, certainly due to low yields.  It is exclusively concentrated in the South in Jurançon appellations and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.  However, it knows a real craze today in the Gascogne vineyards although Gros Manseng is preferred there.

Production potential:
Petit Manseng is a vine of the fourth period.  It is particularly well suited to the production of great sweet wines.  Indeed, the structure of its bunches of grapes, its natural acidity and the thickness of the film of the berries make it very resilient to botrytis.  It is therefore by passerillage that the berries are going to concentrate.

Best expressions / Oenological potential:
Petit Manseng can come in a variety of dry or sweet wines.  Rich in aromatic components of the thiols family, it is characterized by pineapple notes, exotic fruits, citrus and white truffle on evolution.  Its natural acidity allows Petit Manseng to reach great balances of sweetness and acidity without making the wines heavy.

 

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