New Norton/Cynthiana wine glass


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It has been a number of years since I've last posted here but the
miracle of DSL in my remote location allowed me to re-visit old
favorites that dial-up couldn't handle.
For those who are blinkingly trying to remember me, I was probably the
group's sole cheerleader for Missouri wine. Yes, there is still a
vast quantity of labrusca plonk produced here, but the above article
link shows the seriousness of my home state's ability to produce good
wine.
Sincerely
Mark E Sievert
Reply to
Mark E Sievert
On Sep 10, 10:46 am, Mark E Sievert wrote:
Mark, welcome back, I do remember you. I don't see many Missouri wines, but liked a Missouri Norton a few years back
Reply to
DaleW
I have had only very limited experience with Missouri wines, but I do hear that some are now quite decent, and the price of some of the better ones can be in the US$ 20 range - a far cry in both quality and price from what I remember of Missouri and Arkansas wines several decades ago. In addition to grape wines, several other fruits have long been made into wine in the region.
A few years ago Missouri laws were changed to allow making of fruit spirits by wine producers. The only ones of these "eau de vies" I have tasted came from Montelle, and I know nothing about the wines they also make. Their Cherry, Golden Delicious, Peach and Grappa brandy (eau de vie) is sold in 375 ml bottles for close to US$ 20, and it requires about 8 pounds of fruit for each 375 ml. Their peach seems to be well made and does have considerable peach character, especially the aroma of ripe peach skins. I have not been able to find a peach eau de vie from Europe for a direct comparison. Their cherry is good, but does not have the complexity of the better examples of kirsch from Alsace, the Black Forest, or Austria.
OT: I likely will be able to drink wine again before long. I no longer have to take the strong medication for pain that is not safe to combine with alcohol. The only thing I take now is a hormone that must by sniffed by nose once a day. It is supposed to help increase bone density. It does not seem to interfere with smelling, In November I will have a bone density scan, and I might be able to stop taking the hormone if the bone density is high enough.
Reply to
cwdjrxyz
Dale:
Norton=Cynthiana
I have no experience with Missouri wines (well, Stone Hill once, maybe ten years ago), but Norton/Cynthiana is alive and well in Virginia. The owner of Chrysalis Vineyards has literally bet the farm on it; most of her acreage is planted to this varietal, which is ideally suited because this is where Norton originated.
As a sideline, she makes arguably the best viognier in North America, and has some fabulous chardonnay, touriga nacional and cabernet franc. But Norton is the main event, and I worry about the saleability factor. However, nobody does it better.
Norton is one of the most difficult varietals in the world. It's a native grape of North America, but it's not of the labrusca series; it's its own species. There's none of the foxy aroma associated with labrusca, but it's very weird.
It colors well, producing dense black wines like petite sirah. The juice is red, which is unusual for most grapes. It has the most unusual tannin structure I have ever encountered, just tangy, bizarre and very "rustic". A Frenchman would turn up his nose at this. The game will be to find appropriate vinification techniques to tame this grape, and Chrysalis seems to be on the right track.
Nevertheless, a well-aged Norton exhibits some characteristics of Bordeaux. It requires years of ageing, which is also a bummer for wineries which make it, but the glories of well-made, older Nortons can produce a unique tasting experience.
If you find some at your local merchant's, give it a try. Norton is perfect with venison.
--Bob
Reply to
Bobchai
I agree with the venison. Lamb is also one of my favorite Norton/ Cynthiana pairings. On a side note, I've taken lately to cynthiana entirely because 'Norton' keeps reminding me of the 'Honeymooners'.
Also, since this has been a tight year for me, I've been drinking a lot of Missouri chambourcin. St. James Winery's 2005 Chambourcin has a heavy tannic structure with cocoa and tobacco in the nose. Great for backyard BBQs and heavy drinking friends. Alcohol content about %14. ;-)
Best regards, Mark Sievert
Reply to
Mark E Sievert
Hi, Mark--
The 'Honeymooners', LOL! Most of my contact about chambourcin comes from Pennsylvania and Maryland, where it was probably introduced by Philip Wagner 40 years ago. Chambourcin doesn't ripen all that well in that climate, but it makes a decent wine. In Missouri, I suspect it's better. Your statement about alcohol content reveals that it gets much riper in Missouri. Chambourcin can make a very interesting wine.
Now I have to stop and go back to lecturing for a minute, and please forgive me for being so pedantic, but this is important.
Chambourcin is one of the so-called "French hybrids", some of which are illegal in France now.
It begins with phylloxera, that vine louse which wrecked the French wine industry in the 1860s and 1870s, and later California in the 1880s. This is a bug which eats vine roots. Native American vines are resistant, but when this pest entered Europe in the mid-19th century, it almost brought extinction to the noble grape varieties of vitis vinifera we know today (and it did bring extinction to lesser varieties in Europe).
There were three ways of combatting the pest:
1. Converting all of Europe's vineyards to the American species, vitis labrusca, which was resistant. Fat chance.
2. Grafting European vines onto phylloxera-resistant American rootstock, which is the accepted method today.
3. Hybridizing European and American varieties to create "producteurs directs", meaning vines you could plant in the ground without grafting, as the European system was for thousands of years. Various French plant hybridizers created some cultivars, crossing vinifera with labrusca, which are often named for them, such as Seyve-Villard and Ravat, Maurice Baco and Vidal. They also got very successful with creating rootstocks. All of our rootstocks today are the result of their experiments.
Most of what they came up with for wine was garbage. Algeria had thousands of acres of these mediocre, high producing vines by 1962, and France eventually outlawed most of them.
But in the early 1930s, post-Prohibition, Phlilip Wagner, an editor of the Baltimore Sun with a Parisian palate, not knowing at the time that vinifera could succeed in the East (Dr. Konstantin Frank later proved him wrong), proposed these "French hybrids" for America.
Most of the bud wood still comes from his plant nursery in Maryland, Boordy Vineyard.
Wagner introduced about 40 cultivars which proved useful for the east- of the Missisippi wine industry, and after throwing a bunch of them at the wall, some of them stuck. Vidal blanc makes terrific ice wine in Eastern Canada, seyval blanc makes an adequate ersatz sauvignon blanc, Baco noir, widely planted in New York state in the 1970s, proved disastrous, like really bad gamay noir, but chambourcin has taken up the slack with some very interesting iterations. Marechal Foch is even planted in Oregon, but I don't know why the hell why, it has the aromas of fish glue.
So the French hybrid legacy is hit-or-miss. I understand why wineries in continental climates still grow them, but I think there's also a talent factor in the winemaking which is missing.
--Bob
Reply to
Bobchai
Hi, Mark--
The 'Honeymooners', LOL! Most of my contact about chambourcin comes from Pennsylvania and Maryland, where it was probably introduced by Philip Wagner 40 years ago. Chambourcin doesn't ripen all that well in that climate, but it makes a decent wine. In Missouri, I suspect it's better. Your statement about alcohol content reveals that it gets much riper in Missouri. Chambourcin can make a very interesting wine.
Now I have to stop and go back to lecturing for a minute, and please forgive me for being so pedantic, but this is important.
Chambourcin is one of the so-called "French hybrids", some of which are illegal in France now.
It begins with phylloxera, that vine louse which wrecked the French wine industry in the 1860s and 1870s, and later California in the 1880s. This is a bug which eats vine roots. Native American vines are resistant, but when this pest entered Europe in the mid-19th century, it almost brought extinction to the noble grape varieties of vitis vinifera we know today (and it did bring extinction to lesser varieties in Europe).
There were three ways of combatting the pest:
1. Converting all of Europe's vineyards to the American species, vitis labrusca, which was resistant. Fat chance.
2. Grafting European vines onto phylloxera-resistant American rootstock, which is the accepted method today.
3. Hybridizing European and American varieties to create "producteurs directs", meaning vines you could plant in the ground without grafting, as the European system was for thousands of years. Various French plant hybridizers created some cultivars, crossing vinifera with labrusca, which are often named for them, such as Seyve-Villard and Ravat, Maurice Baco and Vidal. They also got very successful with creating rootstocks. All of our rootstocks today are the result of their experiments.
Most of what they came up with for wine was garbage. Algeria had thousands of acres of these mediocre, high producing vines by 1962, and France eventually outlawed most of them.
But in the early 1930s, post-Prohibition, Phlilip Wagner, an editor of the Baltimore Sun with a Parisian palate, not knowing at the time that vinifera could succeed in the East (Dr. Konstantin Frank later proved him wrong), proposed these "French hybrids" for America.
Most of the bud wood still comes from his plant nursery in Maryland, Boordy Vineyard.
Wagner introduced about 40 cultivars which proved useful for the east- of the Missisippi wine industry, and after throwing a bunch of them at the wall, some of them stuck. Vidal blanc makes terrific ice wine in Eastern Canada, seyval blanc makes an adequate ersatz sauvignon blanc, Baco noir, widely planted in New York state in the 1970s, proved disastrous, like really bad gamay noir, but chambourcin has taken up the slack with some very interesting iterations. Marechal Foch is even planted in Oregon, but I don't know why the hell why, it has the aromas of fish glue.
So the French hybrid legacy is hit-or-miss. I understand why wineries in continental climates still grow them, but I think there's also a talent factor in the winemaking which is missing.
--Bob
Reply to
Bobchai
Your post is a good read. Thanks.
Chambourcin, from what I've gleaned around here is that it tolerates very well the extremes of Missouri's widely swinging seasonal climate, from dry blistering summers to icey wet winters. Me, I'm happy to have local dry drinkable reds.
MES
Reply to
Mark E Sievert

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