Although originally developed by a Frenchman seeking vines for Cognac, Vidal Blanc has found a home in Canada and the northeastern part of the US. It’s winter-hardy and so grows quite well in Ohio and Michigan and wineries in our area produce some great versions. Quarry Hill in Ohio and Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Michigan are two Vidals worth checking out.
The thick skin of Vidal Blanc also makes it a popular grape for the production of icewine. The wine produced tends to be fruity with grapefruit or pineapple flavors. Most of the Vidals I’ve tried have have a touch of sweetness.
During our visit to Niagara Peninsula wineries, we sampled the Rockway Glen Estate Winery Fergie Jenkins Vidal Blanc and liked it enough to bring a bottle back across the border. We recently popped it open and found it to be a hit. To learn more about Rockway Glen, you should read our recent story. Fergie Jenkins was a Canadian and a Hall of Fame pitcher with the Chicago Cubs. He runs a charity golf tournament at the Rockway Glen golf course and so is also tied in with the winery.
This was a crisp, acidic wine and rather refreshing. It had the tropical fruit flavor notes, but what I found interesting was that it wasn’t as sweet as other Vidals I’ve sampled. The wine, like a lot of Vidal Blancs, wasn’t tremendously complex – but it certainly gets high grades for value and drinkability. With the baseball tie-in, the wine might be a good conversation starter.
The cost was just $10 at the winery with $1 going to charity. The flavor and price make a nice double-play that Fergie Jenkins would welcome!
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