The Missouri Wine and Grape Board declared January Norton Month. Norton is the perfect accompaniment to a steak dinner or an evening by the fireplace, making it the quintessential winter wine. This rich, full-bodied dry red wine is the king of all-American wines. Powerful and bold, expect dark berry flavors mingled with spicy overtones and oak influence.
In 2003, Norton was declared Missouri's official state grape. Although it originated around 1830 near Richmond, Va., Norton made its way to Missouri by way of German immigrants who settled in Hermann. It is believed to be one of the oldest grape varieties still commercially grown in the U.S. Norton continues to be praised for being a hardy, disease resistant and vigorous vine that can withstand Missouri's extreme temperatures. It is the most widely planted grape in the state, with 328 bearing acres according to a 2011 study.
The Norton grape, also known as Cynthiana (sin-thee-ana), is food friendly, best paired with foods of the Midwest: smoked meat, wild game, barbecue and lamb. It also complements dark chocolates, strong cheeses, and spicy seafood. Rich, bold flavors will warm you as you welcome in the New Year. This wine becomes more complex with age, but don't hesitate to open a bottle right after you buy it.
Missouri wineries across the state plan to join in on the promotion of this great Missouri wine to boost awareness of the delicious fruit and wines the state has to offer. Try a Norton next time you are enjoying Missouri wine country, or pick up a bottle at your local wine retailer.
Information about all Missouri varietals, wineries and trails can be found on the Missouri Wine and Grape Board website.
Source: Missouri Wine and Grape Board