Vidal is a hardy hybrid grape that is grown in Canada and the north-eastern United States. It is best known as one of the icewine grapes of Ontario (Riesling and Cabernet Franc are the others), where it is grown to a considerable extent. The variety is a crossing of Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) and Seibel 4986 (Rayon d’Or) and was originally intended to kickstart brandy production in Canada’s eastern provinces, but Vidal’s thick skin, strong resistance to cold and high natural acidity made it the perfect candidate to champion the icewine category.
The area around the Great Lakes is where Vidal is most prolifically grown. The Finger Lakes AVA in New York State and Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula are the key regions, and there are limited plantings also in the Midwest and Quebec. Vidal wines show good concentration in these areas, but lack the longevity of Riesling, to which it is frequently and mercilessly compared.
Vidal can make dry table wines, but its best use is unquestionably as luscious and intense icewine. Floral and fruity aromas are characteristic of all Vidal wines, and in icewines the grape shows caramel, butterscotch and sweet-apricot flavors.
Synonyms include: Vidal Blanc, Vidal 256.
Related grape varieties include: Trebbiano/Ugni Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Rayon d'Or.
Food matches include:
Europe: Pear and roquefort tarts (sweet)
Asia: Crabmeat, broccoli and cauliflower salad (dry and sweet)
Americas: Crêpes and caramel cream (panqueques celestino) (sweet)
Australasia/Oceania: Lime sorbet