Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng are two different types of the same grape variety, although the ampelographer de Lapparent (in Viala and Vermorel, 1910) only treats Petit Manseng.
Petit Manseng is related to Gros Manseng, but has smaller grapes with thicker skin. It is can accumulate a high level of sugar while retaining a significant acidity, which is necessary for the balance of the best sweet, syrupy wines.
Its vines have white cottony bud with young leaves that are fluffy and bronzed-colored. Adult leaves are barely trilobed with open U-shaped petiolar sinus. Petit Manseng produces small bunches with small grapes.
Usually harvested in November, its naturally low yields are concentrated by a partial dehydration of the grapes on the vine, which develops complex aromas: floral, fruity, spicy, and evolving to truffle after a few years of aging. Additional aromas are of pineapple, cinnamon, passion fruit, candied fruits, exotic fruits, honey, ripe peach, citrus zest…
Alone or blended with Gros Manseng, Arrufiac or Courbu, Petit Manseng is the essential element that elevates Jurançon and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh to the most renowned and distinctive sweet wines in the world.
Production area: 1,396 ha (3,450 acres)