Norton Grape


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Norton Grape

ag. 10, 2013, 1:03pm

Some time ago I read The Wild Vine, a book about what is purportedly America's only native vinifera grape- the Norton. I had never heard of the grape before and was surprised to learn that Missouri had a "wine trail" with norton red wines being the star. My wife recently was traveling cross country with a stop in Saint Louis. I had her bring back a mixed case of Norton reds. The 2005 Hermannhof Little Mountain (as opposed to Missouri's big mountain) was very nice. It was dry, not too grapey, and had just enough foxiness to give it interest. The Stone Hill was not as good but still quite quaffable for the price. It was nice change of pace in terms of flavor, paired with the charm of being uniquely American - not unlike a good pinotage from South Africa.

juny 5, 2020, 7:14am

Sorry, 7 years is a long time to wait for a reply and you may no-longer be active.
Norton is not Vinifera; there is no native US vinifera, but it seems to be a cross with vinifera in it's heritage. It's full name is 'Norton's Virginia Seedling' and the largest Norton vineyard in the USA (and the world :) is Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia - mentioned in The Wild Vine.
I toured Missouria wineries tasting Norton - I think Augusta winery make the best in Missouri and Chrysalis's Locksley's Reserve is excellent

Editat: jul. 5, 2020, 10:32am

You are correct that the Norton grape is a cross with a vinifera. I have since toured a number of Missouri wineries. I like Augusta too, and will have to try the Chrysalis Reserve. We have a friend who lives in Fenton, MO, and she always brings us a mixed case when she visits.

jul. 21, 2020, 6:27am

Glad to see you are here!.

If you haven't already got one, there is a Riedel Norton glass, some of the Missouri wineries sell it. I can't find it on the Riedel site, but they were commissioned by (I can't remember which now) Missouri Wine Board or the wineries. Maybe your friend can source one for you.

Another book you may like is
From This Hill, My Hand, Cynthiana's Wine by Paul Roberts
When Cynthiana was found to be the same as Norton, Missouri quickly made it their state grape (even though it originated in Virginia).
But there is some question as to whether Cynthiana was a different, but similar, variety that was lost during Prohibition and replaced by Norton cuttings, called Cynthiana and then found to be Norton....

jul. 22, 2020, 9:24am

Thanks. I have some Riedel; however, my low consumption of Norton probably does merit the purchase of more stemware I lack storage for. I will check out Roberts’ book. I just purchased A Carafe of Red by Gerald Asher and it contains a previously published article on Norton.

ag. 15, 2020, 7:59am

Thanks; I have a sample of that book on my Kindle but it's expensive to buy

ag. 16, 2020, 1:34pm

I found a used paperback for 12$. The previously published articles date back to the late 80s so much of discussion of vintages is vintage itself. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining and educational read.