Theme: 2021 A new degree + Got To Be NC!
Featured Wine: 2021 Surry Cellars Petit Manseng
You have seen less of Josh and more of our staff members. Why?! Because he has been taking viticulture and enology courses at Surry Community College. In these courses, the students learn how to grow grapes in North Carolina’s difficult climate and produce a range of wines. Under the Surry Cellars label, we are able to try the wines they produce in class!
A Bit of Background
North Carolina is home to three winemaking areas that have 6 regions carrying the American Viticultural Area (AVAs) designation. Yes, the state is known for sweet wines made of Scuppernong or Muscadine varieties, however, there is significant production of European varieties (vine species: Vitis Vinifera) like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay in the Western part of the state. Petit Manseng is a lesser known white grape that is grown in Southwestern France. It has become a prominent offering among quality NC wineries. Hybrid grape varieties – where two grapes or vine species have been crossed – are also popular in North Carolina. These hybrid grapes, like Villard Blanc and Chambourcin, were designed to withstand hot and humid climates, so it’s no surprise that they found a home here!
Sidebar- Scuppernong & Muscadine!
Scuppernong and Muscadine (vine species: Vitis Rotunifolia) are native to the southeast and were likely the first grape to be cultivated in North Carolina. With the endorsement of agricultural leaders and Thomas Jefferson, they became cultivated throughout the country for juice and table wine production in the early 1800s. By the 1840s, North Carolina was the foremost wine producer – all thanks to the Muscadine grapes!
From Surry Cellars:
Petit Manseng is one of the key white grape varieties of Southwest France. It is a low-yielding variety with small berries filled with acidity, a hallmark of the style to which these wines are made. Because of the thick skin and high acid content of the fruit, it is able to hang on the vine much longer than other varieties providing great ripeness characteristics. Our still Petit Manseng from 2021 is lusciously ripe with an intoxicating aroma of pina colada, pineapple, mango, and cinnamon. Flavors follow-up with a strong acidic backbone and velvety ripeness with a long finish. A refreshing wine on a summer day or used as a palate cleanser.