Seyval Blanc is the most widely planted white grape in the Hudson Valley and is used in a number of blends as well as sold as a single varietal. Seyval Blanc is a very malleable grape, and can be used to make a variety of wines including dry, semi-sweet, dessert wines, and sparkling. Seyval Blanc has a characteristic citrus element in the aroma and taste, as well as a minerality that may be compared to white Burgundy.
Seyval Blanc (or Seyve-Villard hybrid number 5276 - its more technical name) is a hybrid wine grape variety used to make white wines. Its vines ripen early, are productive and are suited to fairly cool climates. It also has the heartiness to survive the usually harsh winters, which is why it is perfect for the Hudson Valley. Seyval Blanc is also grown mainly in England, the Finger Lakes, and to a lesser extent in Canada. Seyval Blanc was created either by Bertille Seyve, or his son-in-law Villard, as a cross of Seibel 5656 and Rayon d'Or (Seibel 4986), and was later used to create the hybrid grape St. Pepin.
In its single varietal form my favorites include dry unoaked and dry oaked Seyval Blanc. The unoaked Seyvals are bright, dry, and lemony, tasting very much like a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of green apples and citrus. Oaked wines can have a much more complex profile, with lots of tartness, minerality, and as wine and grape authority Oz Clarke points out, a “Chablis-like austerity to start with and a honeyed richness with bottle age.” Fume Blanc is a better wine style that seems more to give readers the proper sense of these kinds of Seyvals formidable flavor profile.
It also makes a sensational sparkling, the best example of which are the wines from Clinton Vineyards, which produce incredibly layered wines of richness and character. Brimstone Hill also makes a formidable sparkler.
Seyval Blancs are perfect accompaniments to artisanal Hudson Valley cheeses, especially goat cheese. They also go spectacularly with roasted chicken, swordfish, lobster, soft shell crabs, trout, eggplant, pasta primavera or clam sauce, and of course Thai cuisine.
Here are some of the terrific Seyval Blancs of the Hudson Valley:
Adair Seyval Blanc – A classic stainless steel version of the Hudson Valley most prolific white grape. Bright acidity, fresh fruit, and a citrusy ending. Delicious!
Applewood Seyval Chardonnay - A crisp, fresh white. A good match with lighter style fish or chicken dishes as well as grilled pork chops or veal piccata w/lemon & capers
Applewood Seyval Chardonnay Reserve – An elegant fine white wine, a blend of predominantly Seyval Blanc blended with Chardonnay, and aged in American Oak.
Benmarl 2010 Estate Seyval Blanc - Sourced from their Ridge Road estate vineyard in Marlboro, this 2010 vintage is the first completed harvest from this young vineyard. The wine brings fresh notes of crisp apple and melon on the nose and palate with a soft yet crisp finish.
Brimstone Hill Seyval Blanc - A high quality varietal with good character and smooth after taste. Perfect for seafood, appetizers and chicken.
Cascade Mountain Seyval Blanc- A dry white wine of Seyval Blanc aged in stainless steel to preserve the fruit. Crisp, clean, and well balanced, this wine has won numerous awards, including three Gold Medals.
Clearview Vineyards – Apples, melon, citrus. Done in the Sancerre style from France’s Loire region. A bright crisp wine.
Clinton Seyval Blanc 2010 - 34th Vintage – The valley’s signature white table wine--a classic Seyval Blanc-crisp, light and balanced with purity of fruit and underlying accents of citrus and green apple. Food friendly and equally comfortable at cocktail time. It is delightfully refreshing.
Glorie Farm Winery Seyval Blanc - The proprietors' favorite wine. Estate-grown with pride and vinified in the classic style, dry and crisp with notes of toasted nut, citrus, and vanilla. Rich in bouquet and full in the finish. A Hudson Valley specialty.
Hudson-Chatham 2009 Seyval Blanc Estate Block 1 North Creek Vineyard - Made from grapes grown in the Block 1 section of our estate vineyard – North Creek Vineyard - this exceptional wine is made using only 100% Seyval Blanc grown in their own vineyard. It’s also aged in French and American oak. The resulting wine is an incredible, light white wine filled with river stone mineral overtones, and dry, lemony finish. It’s done in the style of a fume blanc, and goes great with clams, oysters, shellfish, any kind of seafood, cheeses, chicken, all kinds of appetizers and salads.
Hudson-Chatham Seyval Blanc – A stainless steel version of this classic Hudson Valley white grape. Notes of green apple, melon, and lemon, with hints of minerality. A great table white ready to compliment roasted chicken, grilled trout or salmon, or great with cheeses or salads.
Stoutridge 2008 Seyval Blanc - Bursting with a vibrant, delicate fruitiness and honeysuckle floral notes, this Seyval is very reminiscent of the taste of French Champagne. Perfect as an aperitif or paired with lobster or shell fish. Unfiltered and unfined.
And several highly recommended sparkling wines:
Brimstone Hill Domaine Bourmont Sparkling Wine - Made in the full "Methode Champenoise" this dry sparkling is a must for all celebrations! An award winner. This sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc and very nice too, just what you need to start our picnic in style. A must for all celebrations!!
Clinton Seyval Naturel - (Méthode champenoise) This unique 100% Seyval Champagne is bright with a core of fruit flavors, hints of green apple and pear yield a toasty fresh finish.
Jubilee - (Méthode champenoise) Elegant and lush with well integrated acidity. Apple, vanilla, dried fruit and citrus nuances. Dry with a long finish. 2011 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Compeition, Best Hudson Valley AVA Wine.
A great article on Seyval Blanc New York state grape expert and Hudson-Chatham winemaker J. Stephen Casscles: