April 5th-Vidal Blanc

Vidal Blanc is a hybrid that was created by the crossing of Trebbiano Toscano and Rayon d’Or. Vidal is a classic example of hybrid vitis (crossing of American and European species) that is commonly provided as an example in wine texts. It is a white grape that is hardy in colder climates and retains moderate to high levels of acidity, making it ideal for the production of late harvest and icewines. In addition to these sweeter styles of wine, it can also be used to produce dry wines but these are less common and not as well received. Vidal was created in France but no longer grown in significant amounts. It is more widely grown in the Niagara Peninsula in Canada, as well as Finger Lakes in New York. Plantings can also be found in Sweden! 

A couple weeks ago, I tasted a 2020 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc at Heron Hill in the Finger Lakes. The wine was a viscous pale lemon-green color that coated the inside of my glass. Aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine were commingled with juicy pineapples, apricots, peaches, and pears on the nose. This off sweet wine was well balanced by its marked acidity. The residual sugar remained after the fermentation was halted. This is done when the desired level of alcohol is reached. The wine then gets chilled to allow the yeast to go dormant. The yeast is then filtered out through a sterile filtration process to prevent further fermentation from occurring. This resulted in a wine that exhibited moderate body with a low level of alcohol. Flavors of honey, ripe pineapple, meyer lemon, juicy cantaloupe, and apricots dominated the palate and slowly faded on the extended finish. This wine is best served chilled and would pair well with cream puffs, fruit tart, and blue or hard cheeses. It could also stay in a cellar for a few years.


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