Pennsylvania Wine School: What is a Seyval Blanc?

Chambour-huh? Vidal who? Need some help comprehending the plethora of exciting Pennsylvania grape varietals? We’re at your service, offering up some information on some of the wine words you need to know.

Varietal: Seyval Blanc (pronounced say-VAHL BLANK).

Grown: Across Pennsylvania, but particularly in cooler regions.

Similar to: Chablis

If you’re a lover of dry whites, look no further than Seyval Blanc, a varietal that lands somewhere between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Developed in 1921 in France by prolific hybrid creators Bertille Seyve and his son-in-law Villard, this green-skinned grape excels in colder climates — the vines ripen early — so it is increasingly popular in Pennsylvania.

Seyval Blanc tends to exhibit higher acid and some minerality, with notes of citrus, green apple, hay, and melon. Winemakers have a lot of room for creativity with this varietal, as it can be made into sparkling wine, aged in oak, and employed in blends (often with Chardonnay).

Fans of Chablis and Chenin Blanc should be on the lookout for this fresh, drinkable varietal. The brightness and high acidity of Seyval Blanc pair well with summer salads and seafood — it’s a wonderful wine to serve with clams, oysters, or mussels. If your favorite vintage has a bit more residual sugar, order up something spicy like shrimp pil-pil (sautéed with garlic and hot peppers) or buffalo wings. If you’re putting together a cheese plate, look to cooler mountain climates for young, mild Alpine styles like Gruyere or Comte. Herbed cheeses like Havarti with dill or fresh goat cheese with nettles are also excellent options.

Below is a sampling of PA Seyval Blanc wines for you to try from all across PA Wine Land. Check your local wineries for more Seyval Blanc wines. Wines listed below were available as of the date of publication [07/19/18]. Contact the winery directly for current inventory.

Penn Shore Vineyards, Seyval Blanc
Wilhelm Winery, Seyval Blanc

Glades Pike Winery, 2015 Seyval Blanc
Narcisi Winery, 2014 Seyval Blanc

Nissley Vineyards, Seyval Blanc

Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery, Seyval Blanc
Franklin Hill Vineyards, Seyval Blanc

To learn more about other varietals grown across PA Wine Land, visit our Wine School library.

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