Working for a winery has it’s perks. Normally it runs like any other business and the product happens to be wine from grapes grown a few hundred feet away. But it is still a business that blends passion into every report, tank cleaning, vineyard pruning, government compliance, paperwork, inventory count and into every customer we greet and serve. Passion. Without it, most businesses may be able to survive, but few will thrive.
To feed passion, it’s important to remember “why” we do what we do. It helps to re-energize and even re-focus the mission.
That is what happened (on a small scale) when doing the latest blog for Vidal Blanc. It was a normal Monday morning at the winery when we have our weekly staff meeting. These meetings consist of reviewing the past weekend and preparing for the upcoming weekend, as well as managing other projects. It is a time to touch base and make sure that everyone has what they need for the week.
Owners Bob and Lou Ann Nolan were getting ready to leave for another appointment when they were detained by a “quick” request for input on a varietal tasting for the blog. In light of Gabe’s last article on Vidal Blanc being able to “give a great performances in a variety of starring roles”, we wanted to see what that meant with three different versions of Vidal.
Dry, Stainless Steel aged 100% Vidal Blanc-
We began with a Vidal Blanc in it’s purest form. Pure because it is in stainless steel, no residual sugar and actually from the tank since it has not been bottled yet. We were greeted with citrus, lemon zest, and green apple flavors. It had a long finish, but it was crisp with hints of apricot. This bare-bones Vidal Blanc was reminiscent of a refreshing and clean Sauvignon Blanc.
Oak, Barrel-fermented 100% Vidal Blanc-
This Vidal happened to be the same vintage and from the same vineyard as the dry Vidal Blanc, so we were truly comparing apples to apples. What we found was that you still get the lemon zest and citrus beginning. In this case, the wine was barrel fermented in older barrel’s, so the oak flavor is subtle. However, it continues with a soft, buttery finish that comes from the malo-lactic fermentation the Vidal wine undergoes while in the barrel. It converts the malic acid (harsh) into lactic acid (soft). Imagine it converting tea to milk. The acidity of Vidal is muted by the malo-lactic fermentation, however it maintains the same profile of a Vidal. Megan described it as skipping over your tongue like velvet, not silk. Velvet is textured, but smooth, as is this Vidal Blanc. It maintains the citrus flavors, but ends with a structured smoothness.
Sweet, Vidal Blanc Blend-
Finally, we tried a blend of Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, and Traminette. Vidal is a perfect blending grape because it doesn’t have any over powering flavors, so it acts as a back drop to so many blends. Traminette, for example, has such strong floral flavors, making it less attractive as a blending wine in some cases. Vidal will take on so many roles and in this case, it perfectly contributes to the sweetness of this blend. The apricot finish showed itself again in this blend, but with a sweet twist as if popping a rip, sweet, apricot into your mouth and letting it dance around with the floral flavors of the Traminette.
After we finished the varietal tasting, we were like a bunch of chatty school-girls (and one guy) talking about how ONE grape can transform into THREE wines and produce such a variance in flavor, style, and even to some extent a variance in profile, while maintaining it’s personality. That’s Vidal Blanc.
The perks of working at a winery are pretty obvious now. Among the daily work of keeping a business going, we were reminded in that 10 minute pause to “work on the blog” that indeed passion is alive and well at the winery. Thank you, Vidal.