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Marlborough Petit Manseng

  • Michael Cooper -
    Churton Petit Manseng 2015
    March 2017

    The lovely 2015 vintage (5*) of this traditional variety of Jurancon, in south-west France, was estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley and fermented in seasoned oak barrels. Harvested by hand at 26.7 brix, it is a light lemon/green, invitingly scented, fresh, medium-bodied wine with rich, peachy, slightly honeyed flavours, gentle sweetness (69 grams/litre residual sugar), mouth-watering acidity, and excellent harmony and personality. Drink now or cellar.

  • Mark Henderson - Otago Daily Times
    Churton Petit Manseng 2015
    December 2016

    Wild and exotic nose with quince, mint, ripe peach and stonefruit. Hugely appealing. Powerfully, texturally rich palate with baking spices, hints of warm baguette, honey and apricot allied to beautiful integration and balance. The flavours hang on the long finish with a gorgeous fresh counterpoint.

  • Bob Campbell MW -
    Churton Petit Manseng 2015
    December 2016

    Absolutely delicious dessert wine that's a lovely combination of floral, citrus and spice flavours together with aromatic honey and a thread of mineral character. Fine acidity and pristine sweetness react with each other to produce and exquisite tension.

  • Michael Cooper -
    Churton Petit Manseng 2013
    March 2015

    The second 2013 vintage (5*) of this traditional variety of Jurancon, in south-west France, was grown in the Waihopai Valley and barrel-fermented (in old oak). Hand-picked at 28 brix, it is richly scented, with a compelling presence on the palate. A sweet wine (83 grams/litre of residual sugar) with steely acidity, it has fresh, vibrant stone-fruit flavours, showing excellent vigour and depth, and a resounding finish. Already highly impressive, it's also a candidate for long-term cellaring.

  • Jo Burzynska - Viva Magazine - NZ Herald
    Churton Marlborough Petit Manseng 2013
    May 2015

    Churton released New Zealand’s first ever petit manseng from the 2012 vintage and the follow-up is even more delicious. This southern French variety is particularly suited to sweet wine production, which is the style Churton is making. This complex Marlborough expression exudes aromas of spice, herbs and honey which, on the palate, are joined by white peach fruit, toasty notes and a subtle savoury undercurrent, with its sweetness cut by crisp citrus.

  • Bob Campbell -
    Churton Marlborough Petit Manseng 2013
    November 2014

    Stars: 4 of 5


    Intensely sweet wine with golden queen peach, guava, apricot and pineapple flavours. The residual sugar is balanced by strong acidity preventing any suggestion of cloying. An interesting and, in New Zealand at least, almost unique grape variety (although Churton was the first to plan Petit Manseng it is now also produced by Spade Oak in Gisborne.

  • Debbie Walton-Derry and Peter Morice - Marlborough Express
    Churton Petit Manseng 2013
    16 October 2014

    When you grow a crop and something goes wrong there's an often-used phrase that can seem flippant when you've heard it a few times - it's the old "that's farming".

    One can't help but wonder why those that "farm" should somehow be inured to the loss or damage of a crop that has taken time and hard graft to grow, let alone the resultant loss of income.

    All of which brings us to 2014 - a growing season that started off brilliantly, if a little cloudy. It was a good season until parts of Marlborough experienced a massive hailstorm on March 3. Some vineyards were untouched, some had patchy damage, others sustained large losses and as a result, harvest had to be carefully managed.

    Churton, in the Waihopai Valley, was hit particularly hard by this weather event and it was fortunate that dry days (and the efforts of thousands of hard-working bees) kept damaged bunches clean. A grape berry with a punctured skin is a prime site for botrytis and it is incredibly stressful watching and waiting for harvest ripeness knowing the fruit's natural fortress, its skin, is damaged.

    Churton owners Sam and Mandy Weaver say they picked some excellent fruit at vintage, albeit in reduced quantities. Most of the vineyard proved resilient to adverse farming conditions and Sam says that in his mind this was "in no small part due to our biodynamic philosophy". "The overall health and aura of the vineyard has prevailed."

    Unfortunately, the Weaver's petit manseng crop did not survive the hail damage - which makes the current 2013 release all the more special.

    Churton's petit manseng grows on a spectacular slope facing northwest over the Waihopai Valley. The young vines were the first petit manseng planted in New Zealand and the Weavers say they are showing excellent potential. Early flowering and late ripening, the long growing season and long sunlight hours the vineyard site delivers suits this variety.

    A white variety that shows good disease tolerance, petit manseng is traditionally grown in southwest France. Suitable for the production of quality dry and sweet wines it's a low yielding variety with small, thick-skinned berries that can withstand longer ripening times (but not hail) re quired for sweet wine production.

    We wrap up with a quote from Churton's winter newsletter: "It's a truism to say that winemakers never experience the same vintage conditions twice. After the 2014 vintage we have to say thank goodness for that!"

    Churton Petit Manseng 2013

    Truly a handmade wine - handpicked and racked to old barrels for a long, slow ferment, this wine is eventually filtered and bottled by hand. Pale gold with an intense honey, lemon and beeswax aroma with floral, apricot and poached quince notes (reminiscent of Sauternes).

    The palate is sweet (10 per cent alcohol) with lively, bright acidity. A stylish wine, it is luscious with honeyed lemon and lime notes com plemented by white nectarine and light white button mushroom notes. The sweet/acid combination is glorious with plenty of late pick verve.


  • John Hawkesby - Canvas Magazine
    Churton Petit Manseng 2013
    October 2014

    Sam [Weaver] is one of New Zealand's most fastidious and clever winemakers and committed to a holistic biodynamic philosophy. Made from the first petit manseng vines planted in the country (in Marlborough's Waihopai Valley), this is hugely aromatic with lemon rind, quince, wax pine nuts, apple and sherbet. Divine with goat's cheese.

  • Michael Cooper -
    Churton Marlborough Petit Manseng 2013
    August 2014

    Stars: 5 of 5

    Churton Petit Manseng  

    The second 2013 vintage (5*) of this traditional variety of Jurancon, in south-west France, was grown in the Waihopai Valley and barrel-fermented (in old oak.)  Hand-picked at 28 brix, it is light lemon/green and richly scented, with a compelling presence on the palate.  A sweet wine (83 grams/litre residual sugar) with steely acidity, it has fresh, vibrant, stonefruit flavours, showing excellent vigour and depth, and a resounding finish.  Already highly impressive, it's also a candidate for long-term cellaring.

  • Michael Cooper - New Zealand Listener
    Churton Petit Manseng 2012
    October/November 2013

    "This sweetish white wine is full of personality. From a variety used in southwest France to make late-harvest dessert wines, it was grown in the Waihopai Valley of Marlborough and fermented and matured in a single French oak hogshead. Highly scented, it's a low-alcohol wine (9%) with lemony, appley flavours, showing excellent intensity and vigour, gentle sweetness and spine-tingling acidity."

  • Joelle Thomson - DRINKSBIZ
    Churton Petit Manseng 2012
    December 2013/January 2014

    "…. Off dry in style, it's the stunning aromatic appeal that gets me in every juicy sip. This tastes like a cross between ripe ruby grapefruit and Chenin Blanc (thanks to Petit Manseng's naturally high acidity)"

  • John Hawkesby - New Zealand Herald
    Churton Petit Manseng 2012
    December 2013

    "From one of the country's most meticulous and clever winemakers, Sam [Weaver at] Churton, comes something completely different. According [to Sam], petit manseng has made an easy transition from the hills of the Pyrenees to the hills of Churton in Marlborough. He's right. This little-known varietal is a smooth, slightly sweet, wonderfully aromatic style of wine that has its origins in Jurancon, south-west France. It has low alcohol (9 per cent) and is perfect with fish, vegetables and salad. Riesling-like but without too much citrus sharpness."

  • Andrew Jefford - The World of Fine Wine
    Churton Petit Manseng 2012
    Issue 42 2013

    "Here is the most exciting bottle of new white wine I have been lucky enough to drink during 2013… Splendidly vivid, [with] arresting aromas and flavours…"

    "Its colour seems silvered, like Marlborough's light. The wine smells intricate, fresh and zesty. You might find pineapple, mango and grapefruit there; you might find something else. When I took a sip, I remembered Marlborough's light yet again; the wine tasted of brightness, the kind that can bleach a fence post in a season or two….. It seemed to have tannins and grip, through on reflection that was probably extract; and the balance was almost explosive, like a sketch for icewine, skating around the palate, letting fly with the green apple, as well as those tropical fruits. The aperitif style balance worked superbly; indeed, to me this was a more successful wine in that style than any of the residual-sugar Rieslings I have tried from New Zealand, good though as those can be. This was so much more vital , more electric. I could hardly believe that, yet again, Marlborough was making an utterly convincing case with a new variety from its first outing; all credit to Sam Weaver and the Churton team for their outstanding vision and execution."


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