Vidal (or vidal blanc) is a hybrid grape that doesn't get the respect it deserves -- at least when it's done well.
No, it's not as rich and complex at a well-made, balance chardonnay and it doesn't have the bright elegance of riesling. But, as far as white hybrids go, it's among my favorites.
Vidal is perhaps best known for it's role in some delicious late harvest and ice style wines from Canadian and upstate New York producers. But, with high acidity and medium body, dry renditions can be tremendously refreshing and food friendly.
Standing Stone Vineyards NV Smokehouse Dry Vidal ($9) is both. This medium-bodied white is named "Smokehouse" for the former smokehouse on the property, and the grapes were harvested in late October 2005 at 20.5 Brix. After pressing, the juice was cold settled for 24 hours to reduce solids before fermentation, which was done 100% in stainless steel tanks using Epernay II and VL1 yeasts.
On the nose, spring flowers and ripe golden delicious apple aromas dominate with oh-so-subtle mineral notes in the background. The wine's flavors are pretty simple -- ripe apple, mango and flowers -- but nice acidic structure and a pleasant, surprisingly long finish make this an excellent option for a wide range of foods. Roast chicken comes to mind.
The Finger Lakes are amazingly suited to a great many white varieties, and vidal -- both as table and dessert wine -- is one of them it seems.