WTN: 2004 Puddicombe Estate Seyval Blanc

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WTN: 2004 Puddicombe Estate Seyval Blanc

Postby Paul B. » Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:14 am

One of the very few remaining varietal Seyvals in the Niagara Peninsula nowadays, the 2004 Puddicombe Estate Seyval impressed me in the tasting room with its purity, especially given the weaknesses of that vintage.

12.5% alc. Clear, bright straw hue with a youthful greenish glint; some fine-bead carbonation. Poignant green-apple and pineapple aromas waft out of the glass with every swirl and are framed by a bit of gaminess and citrus rind. Fantastically crisp acidity on the entry; excellent, scintillating mouthfeel that's never seen in the uninspired versions that have been the norm for this grape in Ontario unfortunately (the notable exception being the now-extinct Vineland Estates Seyval which this wine reminds me of). Crisp and minerally all across the palate; very good presence and a density of texture that's fleshed out even more by a couple of degrees of residual sugar - not a bad idea for what was generally a weak vintage. That said, you can't taste it here; the fruit is clearly ripe and the wine has plenty of stuffing and it works exceedingly well at the dinner table. The acidity leaves a racy-crisp aroma in the glass once the wine is gone.

This is the way Seyval should taste; the hands-on quality is very evident here. I even wonder if the wine may have seen a bit of skin contact to get this fantastic texture and grip.

Puddicombe really hit the bullseye with their '04 Seyval. It easily counts among the best ones I've ever had from anywhere.
Last edited by Paul B. on Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN: 2004 Puddicombe Estate Seyval Blanc (Ontario VQA)

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:58 am

I haven't had this but is seems worth finding. I haven't made Seyval in a few years, as my grower had to tear them out because of crown gall, along with DeChaunac and Foch. 25 years ago, these were dominanat varieties in the area and they're now becoming rarities. Vidal, due to ice wine, seems to be the only hybrid that is holding its own and vinefera is taking over. While some vineferas seem to be producing quality consistent wines (Riesling, Chard, Gamay) others vary from year to year and often miss (Pinot Noir, Cab Sauv., Sauv Blanc).
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Re: WTN: 2004 Puddicombe Estate Seyval Blanc

Postby Paul B. » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:35 pm

Well, I checked the bottle again and there was no VQA marker on the label - my mistake. Seyval Blanc is a VQA-approved variety, but for whatever reason, Puddicombe didn't submit this wine to the VQA panel.

Howie, I'd say that Pinot Noir and Cab Franc - in fact, all the prestigious red French viniferas - are always hit-and-miss for us. When the year is good, the wines can be very good - but as you know there are also years when they just don't cut it in the phenolic ripeness department. Now, there are those who love to take the glass-half-empty approach and belittle the very fact that red wines are even made in our part of the world - but you and I both know that this is a small-minded - no, really tiny-minded - position to hold. Red hybrid varieties fill this niche perfectly, as evidenced by the sought-after and well-liked Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve and Malivoire's Old Vines Foch - and these are just the standard bearers; there are others out there that take a bit of legwork to find.
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Re: WTN: 2004 Puddicombe Estate Seyval Blanc

Postby Paul B. » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:45 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Vidal, due to ice wine, seems to be the only hybrid that is holding its own and vinefera is taking over.

Howie, this is very true. I think that icewine, and Vidal's suitability for the genre due to its late-ripening character and thick skins (ability to stay on the vine well into the winter) are the qualities that have saved it from systemic anti-hybrid measures and, despite all the anti-hybrid dogma, actually secured it a place on our viticultural scene. Besides this, I truly enjoy Vidal since it's so very, very versatile. The stickies may be the main niche that's been found for the grape, but as you know, it also makes a superb, crisp table wine. I love dry Vidal with marinated and grilled chicken breasts served alongside a salad of mixed greens. It's a real "summer sipper" wine at my place.

I have long wanted to make a bone-dry, skin-fermented Vidal white table wine. Thing is, I could probably find the grapes rather easily anywhere in the Peninsula if I looked for them come harvest time. Lots of Vidal is grown, so getting some nice fruit shouldn't be a problem. The reason I haven't made the wine up to now is purely due to the fact that I've always given priority to grape varieties whose wines are commercially non-existent.
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