A good friend and wine pal was on a trip in the south not long ago and came upon a wine called Norton which is a full-bodied dry red wine. Norton is produced by Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport, Missouri. It is made from 100% Norton grapes.
The Norton grape has a very interesting history dating back to around 1817. A Richmond, Va., physician named Dr. Daniel Norton is widely credited with the discovery or creation of the Norton grape. Today the Norton grape is thought to be the oldest grape in America used for commercial wine production. Norton is grown predominantly in the state of Virginia as well as in Kansas, Missouri and Texas.
Thomas Jefferson, considered to be the founding father of wine in this country, tried many attempts (seven experiments in total) at creating vineyards at his home in Monticello. It’s said that its unlikely that Jefferson actually produced any wine at Monticello.
Thomas Jefferson became a great connoisseur of fine wine. Jefferson cultivated his love of fine wines while living in Paris and serving as our first U.S. Ambassador to France. While living in France he traveled to the famous vineyards throughout France, Italy and Germany. Later, upon his return to the U.S., he advised America’s presidents about serving and pairing wines. Over the years he continued to build a very well stocked wine cellar at Monticello which included such wines as Château Haut-Brion, Lafite Latour, and Margaux…to name a few. These wines were, and still are, some of the best French wines produced.
It is said that Jefferson tried just about anything to have a thriving vineyard at Monticello. He tried planting all types of grapes, but to no success. He just couldn’t find the right grape.
Just a few years before Jefferson’s death some vine cuttings arrived at the offices of Bernard Peyton, Jefferson’s agent. They were sent by Dr. Daniel Norton. They were intended for Thomas Jefferson but were given to Randolph, Jefferson’s grandson who was overseeing Monticello. There’s no evidence that Randolph ever planted the cuttings. He didn’t share his grandfather’s passion for wine. Dr. Norton never heard back from Jefferson and the president died two years later, on July 4, 1826, without ever producing one bottle of wine after 50 years of grape growing.
2016 Norton Red Wine
The color was dark red and the aromas on the nose were floral and spicy with hints of earth. On the palate this is a dry full-bodied red wine. It offers red fruit flavors and a little pepper. The finish offers some light tannins and is of a good length.
The wine is sold online from the winery for $25.00 per bottle. It pairs well with mild red meats such as meatloaf, steak and some fried foods. It is a wine worth trying.
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