As the end of July approached, I found my usual favorite summer white wines, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, growing a bit tired on the palette.

Then at a wine tasting in Virginia wine country, Early Mountain Vineyards turned me on to a white variety I haven’t had much of…Seyval Blanc. The 2012 Lovingston Winery Seyval Blanc, while similar to a Sauvignon Blanc, had more floral and citrus notes.  So now I’m out trying more.

Seyval Blanc is a hybrid grape variety, meaning it’s the breeding of other ‘parent’ grape variety vines. Seyval Blanc was originally released in 1921 in Saint Vallier, Drome, France, where it was known as Seyve-Villard, named for its creators, Bertille Seyve and his son-in-law Villard.

Seyval Blanc has characteristic citrus aroma and tastes, but also more minerality making it similar to a white Burgundy from France.

While today the European Union does not allow hybrid grape variety wines, you’ll find Seyval Blanc grown mainly in England and the east coast of the United States in New York’s Finger Lakes region and in Virginia. Some refer to it as “East Coast Chardonnay.”

Last weekend at Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, I tasted their Seyval Blanc and bought several bottles for home.

Breaux Vineyards 2012 Jolie Blond

  • Variety: 100% Seyval Blanc
  • Aroma: Citrus, white floral
  • Taste: Crisp, dry white grapefruit with nice body and floral notes
  • Price: $18
  • My thoughts: The name, Jolie Blond, is nod to the Breaux family’s Cajun roots, meaning “pretty blond.” It’s a great white wine for summer’s favorite dishes, like the barbecue chicken I’m enjoying tonight.

Cheers to a new end of summer white, Seyval Blanc!