Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hudson Valley Wine History - The White Varietals

Cayuga White picked at Fino Farms for Whitecliff Vineyards
Contrary to what some people may say, the Hudson Valley does grow grapes, and a mix of Vinifera and Hybrids.  There are approximately 430 acres of vineyards producing over 1000 tons of grapes.

I am going to touch on grapes and their characteristics grown in the region that are not names you hear every day like Chardonnay or Merlot.

We will begin with the white varietals such as  Seyval and Traminette.

Cayuga White - A hybrid cross between the Schuyler and Seyval Blanc grapes.  This makes a fruity white wine.Cayuga White is winter hardy and disease resistant which makes the Hudson Valley a region for plantings.
Seyval Blanc - one of my favorite whites grown in the valley.  Very similar characteristics to a Sauvignon Blanc it has aromas of green apples, citrus and melons.
Vidal Blanc - a high acid French-American hybrid white wine grape with fruity, floral flavors and good balance. You will also find hints of pineapple, melon, hazelnuts, pears and orange blossoms.This grape also makes a nice Ice Wine with Rhine qualities. The grape is descended from the Ugni Blanc of France
Vignoles - This grape can me made dry or sweet.  Usually you will find citrus notes in the aroma. You might find tartness of green apples or flavors of apricots, pineapples, honey peaches or orange rind depending if it's dry or made sweet.  Bud break on the Vignoles is usually late, so they tend survive a late spring frost.
Traminette - another one of my favorites grown in the region.  This varietal is fairly new and was  released in 1996 for planting. This grape is a Gewurztraminer hybrid.  You will find lychee notes similar to Gewurztraminer in this wine.
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