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Wine of the Week: Vidal Blanc

IMG - Wine of the Week: Vidal Blanc

Today’s Wine of the Week series is dedicated to a member of the hybrid family: Vidal Blanc, also known as Vidal 256 or simply Vidal. The hardy and versatile grape is not so common and grown primarily in Canada and the northeastern United States. If you haven’t heard about it yet, keep reading!

What is Vidal Blanc?

Vidal Blanc, commonly referred to as Vidal, is a white hybrid grape developed in 1930 that is best known as one of the ice wine grapes of Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, along with Cabernet Franc and Riesling. The variety is a cross between the French Ugni Blanc – also known as Trebbiano in Italy – and the French-American Rayon d’Or (Seibel 4986). Initially developed to kick-start the production of brandy, the grape variety’s hardiness, versatility, high acidity and strong resistance to cold made it perfect for the Eastern United States wine industry, and especially the ice wine category.

Although Vidal can make dry table wines, its best use remains as luscious and honeyed dessert late-harvest style wine or ice wine. The wine’s fruitiness and floral aromas are its main characteristics.

How to pick your Vidal Blanc?

As mentioned earlier, Vidal is so versatile that it can produce a wide range of wine styles, including a crisp, bone-dry wine and sweet dessert or ice wines. Your pick will therefore depend on the style of Vidal that you are looking for. Our own recommendation: you cannot go wrong with a Vidal ice wine from the Finger Lakes region or Niagara Peninsula.

How to pair your Vidal Blanc?

Dry Vidal pairs beautifully with seafood – think shrimp or crab – and salads. On a sweeter side, desserts with caramel, crepes or even bread pudding and tarts will all do. For some more fun, try pairing Vidal with cheese: start with some goat cheese, Feta or Reblochon with a dry Vidal, and a rich, blue cheese to accompany a late harvest style Vidal.

Our suggestions:

2014 Idol Ridge Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

2006 Hunt Country Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

2013 Creekbend Vidal Blanc