Baco Noir: As writer Lenn Thompson explains in the upcoming story, Baco can be beautiful. This red hybrid grape is, like all hybrids, the gorgeous child of a mixed marriage: Folle Blanche, a French white vitis vinifera grape, and a red vitis riparia. It produces medium-bodied wines that can range in style from rustic and inky to elegant and bright. I, for one, totally dig it. Get yourself some Hudson-Chatham Baco and behold its Burgundy-like allure.
Seyval Blanc: This interesting little quaff is a sort of hybrid of hybrids; an X-Men of grapes, if you will, with super powers! Mighty enough to withstand the nasty winters, but with a soft-spoken nature that makes pretty, fruit-forward whites that can stand on their own as still or sparkling versions, or, as many winemakers like to do, blended to add some of its trademark apple and peach notes to the mix. Clinton Vineyards makes a lovely sparkling (and a great cassis — put them together for a really special Kir), as well as a straight-up version worth checking out.
Vignoles: If you love Riesling, this is your hybrid. Vignoles (pronounced vin-yohl), also known sometimes as Ravat, is a cross between a French-American hybrid and a clone of Pinot Noir. It’s super aromatic — think flowers, flowers, flowers — and makes really pretty, delicate off-dry whites. Keuka Lake Vineyards does gorgeous things with it; it’s a favorite.
Vidal Blanc: Charming as all get out, white Vidal Blanc is the main grape varietal in Brooklyn Oenology and Vino50’s collaborative juicy project, Shindig (you can hit up her Williamsburg tasting room if you want to try it out, and you should). But Vidal likes to chill out, too — when the winter weather allows (and, in the Niagara region, it allows more often than other spots) Leonard Oakes Winery hand-harvests their frozen Vidal in thirteen degree weather to make one outstanding ice wine. It’s worth a lot more than they charge for it, so if you see it, do not hesitate — get it.
Photo credit: Jennifer May
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