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Gros Manseng


Name and Etymology:
The real meaning of Manseng is hard to define. Several ideas compete with each other.  The most credible today is that Manseng derives from the Oc “Mansenc” 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 a near future to give us an answer to this hypothesis.  Big Manseng is a productive variation of the Manseng vine.

The area of diffusion of Mansengs is rather small.  Therefore, there is no real synonymy.

Colour: White

Geographical origin:
Big Manseng comes from the Pyrenean piedmont in its western part; it probably comes from the Jurançon area.

There is no clear filiation established 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:
We find this vine in the same appellations as Petits Mansengs.  If Jurançon and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh are the main ones, the vineyards from Côtes de Gascogne are more and more interested in this vine which enables to bring thickness in blendings with Colombards, Sauvignons or Ugni Blancs.

Production potential:
It is the morphology of the grapes which has given Gros Manseng its prefix.  Naturally more generous than Petits Mansengs, Gros Mansengs are therefore more sensitive to rot but also less apt at achieving great sweet wines balances.  They are therefore reserved to the production of dry wines and traditional sweet wines.

Best examples / Oenological potential:
Gros Mansengs offer an aromatic range around a sulphur molecule.  These thiols give pronounced exotic fruit or citrus notes.  Associated with the natural acidity of the vine, its notes confer freshness and elegance on wines derived from Gros Mansengs.


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