Virginia is in a constant state of inventing and re-inventing its wine industry, constantly working to figure out what works consistently in our unique environment. Vidal Blanc is a hybrid grape variety that has tended to be a workhorse in Virginia as it has good durability to both heat and moist weather, and they tend to have higher volume of production per vine. The 'easy' route for the grape is to make semi-sweet to desert level wines and not really push the limit on experimentation, but thankfully some wineries like Early Mountain are looking beyond the norm. Inspired by the more bistro-styled and 'natural' wine makers, their 'Young Wine' series looks to make lower weight wines with less alcohol and up-front sweetness, and have pulled those characters from Vidal Blanc in surprisingly tasty fashion.
Light peach and pear aromas with hints of cooling citrus zest and wet stones call to mind some of the dry Chenin Blancs from the Loire, with no signs of any cloying sweetness anywhere on the radar. The palate is quenching and wet, plenty of fresh acidity present but gets amped up when it's fresh out of the refrigerator that brings out the white fruit and lemon juice tones. Nowhere from start to finish does the typical Vidal Blanc character show up, so nobody can be blase about saying they've had this before from someone else. This is a very individual wine from a Virginia producer that is beginning to show a broader spectrum of what our industry is capable of producing.
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