Monday, January 19, 2015

Greenvale Vidal Blanc 2011 - Exceptional! (RI)


Greenvale Vineyards is located along the beautiful Sakonnet River in Portsmouth, RI, five miles north of downtown Newport. There are three wineries in Newport County and eight wineries along our Coastal Wine Trail which traverses the coast of Southeasten New England. These wineries are all unique and committed to producing delicious fine wines and the conservation of open space.
Greenvale is a farm that has been in the same family since 1863. It is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Our goal is to maintain this cultural resource, a piece of American history in a productive and meaningful way.

According to Wikipedia, Vidal blanc (or simply 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 is a very winter-hardy variety that manages to produce high sugar levels in cold climates with moderate to high acidity.

The grape was developed in the 1930s by French wine grape breeder Jean Louis Vidal; his primary goal in developing the variety was for the production of Cognac in the Charente-Maritime region of western France. However, due to its winter hardiness this grape variety is cultivated most extensively in the Canadian wine regions of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia where it is often used for ice wine production as a permitted grape of the Vintners Quality Alliance.

The wine produced from Vidal blanc tends to be very fruity, with aroma notes of grapefruit and pineapple. Due to its high acidity and sugar potential it is particularly suited to sweeter, dessert wines. In particular, because of the tough outer skin of the fruit, it is well adapted for the production of ice wine.

This grape is a wonderful French/American hybrid that produces an extremely aromatic and pleasantly flavored wine. It is fruit forward, with a clean crisp finish. Especially good with ham, salads, cheeses, and spicy foods. Medium dry. Fermented in stainless steel.

Vidal blanc is noted for not having the characteristic "foxy" taste that it is identifiable with many hybrid-varieties that including American grapevines in their parentage. According to Master of Wine Jancis Robinson, Vidal blanc tends to produce wines with "bright and pure" fruit and acid levels that can balance out the sweetness of ice wines. In comparing the ice wines made from Riesling to those of Vidal blanc, wine expert Oz Clarke also notes that Vidal wines usually have a rich concentration of intense fruit flavors.

That's a rather long introduction. But this is a very exciting wine with a grape that is not normally one of the more well thought of hybrid grapes. But I have to say that this Vidal Blanc deserves to be tasted by every wine snob in the world and judged with no grading curve whatsoever. It is quite simply amazing. A fabulous nose greets he drinker. Very aromatic as noted above. Green apple. Pineapple. Spices. Fabulous. The green apple and pineapple come across on the tongue as well. But this dry white wine is complex, and finishes with a lovely, zesty acidity. And a nice, long finish. An excellent, exceptional wine. One of the best examples of Vidal Blanc produced on the east coast.