|White, Regional (Hybrid)
Availability: Oct 12 - Oct 15
About Vidal Blanc Grapes
Vidal Blanc (also simply called Vidal) is a white hybrid grape variety produced from the Vitis Vinifera variety Ugni Blanc (also known as Trebbiano Toscano) and another hybrid variety, Rayon d’Or (Seibel 4986). It was developed in the 1930s by French breeder Jean Louis Vidal, whose primary goal was to develop a variety suitable for the production of Cognac. It is a very winter-hardy variety that manages to produce high sugar levels in cold climates with moderate to high acidity. It is also somewhat resistant to downy mildew, making it a popular variety. However, it is quite susceptible to other viticultural hazards, such as coulure, anthracnose, and powdery mildew, so growing experience is needed.
Due to its winter hardiness, this grape variety is grown most extensively in the Canadian wine regions of Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia, where it is often used for ice wine production. It is also grown widely throughout the United States, where it is used to produce both dry and sweet wines (as well as some ice wines). It’s even grown just 500 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, where it is also used to make ice wine.
Vidal Blanc grapes are noted for not having the characteristic “foxy” taste found in many other hybrid varieties, including the varieties in their own parentage. They are described as producing wines with “bright and pure” fruit flavors, typically that of grapefruit and pineapple. Some are even described as having a Riesling-like character (with citrus). They have high acid levels that can balance out the sweetness of ice wines, though they don’t have much aging potential.
Dry styles of Vidal Blanc are often characterized as full-bodied with a buttery mouthfeel that can be similar to Chardonnays that have gone through malolactic fermentation. Some wines also have noticeable acidity, similar to Seyval blanc, with some well-made examples from favorable vintages having a long finish.
Due to their high acidity and fruitiness, Vidal Blanc grapes are particularly suited to making sweeter, dessert wines. While Vidal Blanc grapes are also used for ice wine production in the United States (particularly in the Finger Lakes region of New York and the Old Mission Peninsula AVA around Lake Michigan), they are more often used to produce dry or slightly sweet table wines. At Fulkerson, we use our Vidal Blanc grapes to make our Ice Wines.