THE GRAPE – Petit Manseng is a white grape variety characterised by particularly small, think-skinned berries. Traditionally grown in the South West region of France and used to produce both dry and sweet wines, over the last 15 years it has proven to be a variety well suited to our vineyard in the King Valley.
THE VINEYARD – is located at an altitude of 450m, in the heart of the King Valley, a 20-minute drive south of the Moyhu town-ship and was planted to Petit Manseng more than 20 years ago. We have been making Petit Manseng as a dry table wine for many years and have often talked about trying to make a sweet dessert style wine from this variety. In 2018 the stars finally aligned. The grapes were in great condition, sweet and healthy. The autumn looked like it was going to continue to be warm and dry so we quickly removed some of the central leaves and exposed the bunches to direct sunshine so that they would shrivel and concentrate. The grapevine canes were cut so that the grapes would retain their fresh acidity whilst continuing to dehydrate. And finally, in April the grapes were raisined and ready to be transformed into The Royal!
THE WINEMAKING – steps for making a dessert style sweet wine are quite different to normal white wine making. The grapes are vigorously destemmed and crushed and the skins are left in contact with the juice for a number of hours to ensure all the flavours and sugars are extracted from the rasined berries. They are then pressed firmly to get as much juice out of the skins as possible. The extraction rate can be as low as 300-400L per tonne. The high sugar juice is then carefully fermented using cool temperatures to control the fermentation. When the desired sugar level is archived the fermentation is stopped and the wine is quickly prepared for bottling.
THE WINE – is sweet and luscious with a refreshing zing. It was partially fermented to 9% alcohol leaving around 50% of the sugar un-fermented. The aroma shows lifted tropical fruits, citrus, ginger and spice which will develop further honeyed complexity after a few years in bottle. An ideal wine to enjoy with lemon delicious, ginger cake, or rich creamy cheeses.