April 12th-Vignoles

Vignoles (veen-YOHL) is a white grape variety that is cold hardy. Similar to Vidal from last week’s post, Vignoles is a hybrid that has been said to have been developed in France, although the story of its origins has been disproven through DNA analysis. It is now rarely grown in France. Its most notable plantings can be found in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where it is mainly used in the production of sweet wines. It can also be used as a blending wine to impart floral and fruity character to the final wine. The largest area under vine is located in Missouri, where it is used to make wines at all levels of sweetness. Vignoles is a late budding vine, which allows it to avoid spring frosts that can damage earlier budding grape varieties. It also ripens earlier. This is an ideal quality in regions with shorter growing seasons because the grapes have the opportunity to ripen each year, limiting variation year to year. 

At a recent tasting, I sampled a 2022 Keuka Springs Vignoles from the Finger Lakes. Keuka Springs is a family owned and operated winery that was founded by Len and Judy Wiltburger in the early 1980’s. They are also known as one of the better producers of Vignoles in New York. When my glass was poured, I noted a viscous, pale lemon wine with slow moving legs that trickled over the wine that coated the goblet. It exhibited complex aromas of pink and white grapefruit, meyer lemon peel, coriander, ripe pineapple, and nutmeg. On the palate, this off sweet wine was balanced with significant levels of acid. It was low in alcohol, but higher than most of the dessert wines we tasted. Flavors of juicy pineapple, coriander, lemon curd, and kaffir lime were preceptable. This wine was surprisingly fascinating and delightful. This wine would pair well with Thai curry or Tom Kha Gai soup, as well as light blue cheeses such as camembert. 


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