Before Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier arrived in the UK, Seyval Blanc was the grape of choice for sparkling wine production. However, now that the “Holy Trinity of Champagne” (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) has made its way to the UK, it appears as if Seyval Blanc has been sidelined. Due to the fact that its parentage is not 100% vitis vinifera, this hybrid grape creates excellent sparkling wines that are capable of holding their own against any Continental bottle of bubbly.
A cross between Seibel 5656 and Rayon D’Or, Seyval Blanc is named after the French horticulturist Bertille Seyve and his father-in-law Victor Villard from Saint-Vallier in eastern France. The name Seyval is a contraction for Seyval and Vallier.
Let’s Talk Terroir
Seyval Blanc prefers cooler climes, is early to mid ripening and rather vigorous. As a high yielding vine, as well as being relatively disease resistant (can suffer from botrytis bunch rot later in the season), Seyval Blanc is a great vine to plant in cooler, more maritime climates where limited sunlight hours, cooler temperatures and additional disease pressure make grape growing a struggle.
Seyval Blanc is currently grown in France, the UK, Canada, and northeastern parts of the United States.
All About the Wine
Naturally high levels of acidity along with lower sugar levels makes this an ideal grape for sparkling wine production. Flavours and aromas typically range from floral honeysuckle aromatics to pear, grapefruit and green apple notes. Thankfully, Seyval Blanc doesn’t display the notorious ‘foxy’ aroma that plagues some wines made from hybrid grapes.
Grape: Seyval Blanc
Preferred Climate: Cool-Climate
Key Regions: France, Germany, Canada and Northeastern parts of the US
Aromas and Flavours:
Floral: Honeysuckle and elderflower blossoms
Fruit: Grapefruit, green apple, pear and melon
Pairings: Seafood, summer salads, goat’s cheese or fresh cheeses mixed with herbs
Drinking Window: Sparkling wines can be aged but still wines need to be enjoyed young.