Manseng Petit Blanc, is a green grape from France, more commonly known as Petit Manseng.
Petit Manseng is a variety that naturally comes with high acidity levels, also in a warm climate. The result is a grape that can be harvested late in the season and will then contain high levels of acidity and high levels of sugar, something of a wine makers dream. Due to thick skin and sparse bunches, Botrytis is not a problem.
Flavours are of tropical stone fruits such as peach and apricot, together with a sweet spiciness and some citrus.
In Jurancon and Madiran (sub zone Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh), Petit Manseng is most commonly used for preparing sweet wine, and is often harvested late. It is not uncommon that the harvest is so late that the grapes have started to shrivel, giving an even higher concentration of sugar content. These sweet wines are definitely worth a try.
In the sub region Irouléguy on the border to Spain and the Basque region, Petit Manseng is used for blending with Gros Manseng and sometimes also Petit Courbu. The result is an off-dry white wine with a good body, sweet spiciness and flavours of tropical fruits and citrus.
An off-dry Petit Manseng blend will pair excellently with something spicy, for example Asian food. Best served at 10-12°C/50-54°F.
A sweet Petit Manseng will be delicious to a dessert based on tropical fruits. Best served at 10-12°C/50-54°F.
Where is it grown?
Petit Manseng is grown almost exclusively in the south-west of France, above all in the sub regions Irouléguy in the French Basque region (723 ha/1,787 ac) and Jurançon (272 ha/672 ac).
The total acreage in France is 1.063 ha/2,627 ac, ranking it as the fifty-seventh most planted grape in the country. The acreage increased with seventy-three percent between 2000 and 2010.
Outside of France, there’s a small planting of 7 ha/17 ac reported from Argentina. In 2000, there were no plantings reported outside of France.
No plantings are reported from Spain in spite of the variety being allowed to use in two appellations in the Basque region.
As so often is the case, the grape is thought to be indigenous to the area where it now has its heartland, e.g. in the southwest of France, most likely in Jurançon.
It has been established to be related to another Manseng grape, Gros Manseng. It is however not yet proven in which way, but the hypothesis is that it could be one of its parents.