The winning wine of this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup competition was a Vidal Blanc Passito from 868 Vineyards in Loudoun County, VA. It was quite the accomplishment for the winning wine to be a dessert wine, but a hybrid grape dessert wine made in a niche style from one of the lesser well-known winegrowing areas of the state was the biggest surprise.
Virginia wine does that though– it surprises you! That’s one of the reasons that I love the wine industry and community in that state. Full of inventive and creative people, the Virginia wine industry seems to be a place where wine can be more expressive and interesting.
What is Vidal Blanc?
You may be wondering what grape Vidal Blanc is, considering it is not one that you hear of being made into wine in areas along the West Coast of the U.S. Vidal Blanc is actually a manufactured hybrid grape that is a cross between Ugni Blanc and another hybrid grape called Rayon d’Or. It was created by a French grape breeder in the 1930s in western France but has since been taken off the list of authorized grapes for wine production in that country.
Instead, it has found a welcoming home in North American regions like Virginia, upstate New York, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia, to name a few.
It can be produced as a dry single varietal wine or in the more popular sweet dessert-style wines.
If you’re interested in learning more about this exciting hybrid grape, check out my grape profile page for Vidal Blanc on Winetraveler.com