I'm definitely not one of those wine writer-types who dismisses hybrid grapes. I've had some terrific wines made from Vidal. Have enjoyed several different styles of Vignoles. And, I even like Seyval Blanc when it's done well.
Some winemakers treat Seyval a bit too much like chardonnay for my liking, aging it in oak, which just isn't a good idea. Others leave a significant amount of residual sugar in the finished wine, trying to appeal to the white zinfandel set. Jeff Dencenburg, winemaker at McGregor, did a little of both with this McGregor Vineyard 2007 "Emery Vineyards" Seyval Blanc ($16), but he didn't overdue either.
This wine was partially fermented in French oak barrels, was blended with 20% chardonnay, and has 1.25% residual sugar.
So pale that its nearly colorless in the glass (all of the McGregor whites I've had recently were like this), the nose is rather neutral with overripe pear and subtle hints of oak-spice.
There is a bit more flavor on a medium-bodied palate, still led by pear and apple flavors. There's a bit of citrus here too and some definite spice that comes from that barrel fermentation. That residual sugar is balanced fairly well by acidity — only really peeking through on the mid-palate — and the wine finishes citrusy and clean, if a bit short. I've had far worse Seyval, but I've had better too.
Grapes: 80% Seyval Blanc, 20% chardonnay
Producer: McGregor Vineyard
AVA: Finger Lakes
Rating: (2 out of 5 | Average)