Wine and politics normally don’t mix, but don’t tell that to the folks at Clinton Vineyards in New York’s Hudson Valley. The 100-acre winery has just released Victory White 2012, an estate-bottled Seyval Blanc dedicated to encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016.
The wine isn’t a first for Clinton Vineyards (no relation to the political family). The first release of victory White was in 1992, to celebrate Bill Clinton’s election; it was bottled again in 1996 to commemorate his second term, and once again in 2008 in support of Hillary’s candidacy. “We uncork Victory White in the fervent hope that Hillary throws her hat into the ring,” said Phyllis Feder, the winery owner.
Clinton (the winery) was founded in 1976 by Ben Feder, Phyllis’s late husband. Ben had spent time in the French countryside on the GI Bill after World War II, where he fell in love with wine culture; after his return home, he saw the same potential in the Hudson Valley. Clinton Vineyards was modeled on a traditional European wine estate, and over the years has won awards for both still wines and sparklers made in the classic method champenoise.
Seyval Blanc is a hybrid grape variety specifically engineered to thrive in cold climates. It is widely planted in New York’s Finger Lakes region and in Canada, Virginia and Michigan, where it provides an alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It can be made into either dry or dessert wine versions, responds well to oak aging, and has a distinct minerality that some experts have compared to White Burgundy. It pairs well with poultry, fish and shellfish---and hopefully with electoral politics. Phyllis Feder plans to follow the release of Victory White with a “generous contribution” to the Ready for Hillary PAC.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot); for more information, go to amazon.com