MISE À DAY
Seyval is one of the pillars of the Quebec vineyard. But he had already come a long way before crossing the Atlantic and winning the hearts of winemakers – and wine lovers – here.
Seyval was developed at the end of the 19th century in Isère, in the south-east of France. Appreciated for its vigor and its propensity to ripen early, this hybrid enjoyed a certain popularity in France, where it covered more than 1300 hectares in 1958. There are hardly more than a hundred today. Fortunately, before falling into disuse at home, he had set out to conquer the world; first in England, in the United States and finally, here.
Charles-Henri de Coussergues remembers his first contact with Seyval: “I was in the vineyard of the Faculty of Oenology of Montpellier with Professor Galet and Hervé Durand [who will become his partner at the Orpailleur]; it was mid august and we tasted the grapes perfectly…ripe and without any foxed taste. ” There was no need for more. When this native of Nîmes left the Mediterranean to plant vines in the foothills of the Appalachians in 1982, he was certain that Seyval would be part of the adventure. Forty years later, he still covers almost a third of his Dunham vineyard.
The success of Seyval at Orpailleur has seen it spread to neighboring villages, notably Saint-Armand, at Clos de l’Orme Blanc, and Farnham, at the famous Les Pervenches vineyard. Since acquiring the Chemin Boulais property some twenty years ago, Véronique Hupin and Mike Marler have replaced hybrid grape varieties with vinifera. All of them, except the seyval, the taste of which they liked. “At the start, we had chosen to blend it with Chardonnay, believing that the notoriety of Chardo would be a commercial asset, but Seyval is also completely complete in itself. A sip of their Seyval Macpel 2021 (dandruff maceration) is enough to be convinced: light in alcohol (11%), but very high in flavor!
Curious? Here are five to quench your thirst for discovery. Cheers!
Vignoble du Marathonien, Seyval blanc 2021, IGP Vin du Québec
★★★ | $1⁄2 | $15.80 | Canada 11.5% | 1.7 g/L
SAQ code: 11398325
This domain of Havelock, in Montérégie, has built its reputation with sumptuous sweet wines from Vidal, but Line and Jean Joly also produce a very good fresh and dry Seyval, which can be enjoyed as an aperitif for its lemony notes and its refreshing profile. A nice pairing with stuffed zucchini flowers.
L’Orpailleur, Brut, IGP Vin du Québec
★★★★ | $$$ | $30.50 | Canada 12% | 5.4 g/L
SAQ code: 12685625
This long-time classic (1991), once made from 100% seyval, is now blended with vidal, “which brings fat to the finish”. Aging for 18 months on slats gives the bubbles time to refine and the yeasts to develop pretty brioche nuances, which blend with the floral and tropical notes. Impeccable, as always.
Les Vignes de Bacchantes, B1 2021, IGP Vin du Québec
★★★ | $1⁄2 | $17.15 | Canada 11.5% | <1.2g/L
SAQ code: 14722039
The B1, the classic Bacchante white, is better than ever. We really got the best out of the seyval (and the vidal) and produced a dry white wine of great purity, with just enough volume in the mouth, but above all a well-asserted mineral structure and a fine bitterness that add to the its complexity. Fresh enough for an aperitif and serious enough to be served at the table.
Les Pervenches, Seyval-Chardo 2021
★★★★ | $$1⁄2 | $28.15 | Canada 11% | <4 g/L
25-year-old seyval and chardonnay vines, grown organically. The seyval skins were left to macerate for 4 to 8 days with the must in 2021. The result, although confusing, is excellent. The maceration enhances the tropical notes and the structure of the seyval; the chardonnay plays a supporting role and adds volume in the mid-palate. Available at some wine merchants and in restaurants.
Clos de l'Orme Blanc, Seyval 2021, Identity
★★★★ | $$ 1⁄2 | $28.00 | Canada 12.6% | 5 g/L
Lucie Debien and Rino Dumont are based on Dutch Road, in Saint -Armand, for about ten years. Their seyval vines are 25 years old. Already tasty in the past, their Identity reaches a new high in 2021. As complex on the nose as it is on the palate, with a mineral, peppery and lemony finish that evokes a grüner veltliner from Kamptal, and a texture that is both airy and satisfying.
More stars than dollars: well worth the price
As many stars as dollars: worth the price
< strong>Fewer stars than dollars: wine is expensive