Sip of the Day: St. James Winery 2004 Ozark Highlands Norton Reserve
Last week we talked about a wine made with the American varietal Lenoir, also called Black Spanish. In that article I also mentioned another similar American varietal, most commonly found in Missouri, called Norton. That reminded me of a Norton wine that I had tried a few months back that I had yet to talk about, and I thought that it would be fun to cover it today.
Norton, like the Black Spanish I covered on Friday, is a native American grape that packs tons of flavor and richness into a wine that tastes uniquely different from wines made using European grape varietals. It has an intense grapey backbone, on top of which loads of complexity are able to build when handled by an experienced winemaker. Norton was actually once one of Americas most successful wine varietals, with strongholds along the east coast, but following prohibition, the varietal was not widely replanted, leaving it fairly unknown today. Fortunately, a number of producers, mostly in Missouri, are reviving the Norton grape by making some truly fascinating wines with it. The one we’re talking about today is a great example of that, and also shows the cellarability of these wines, coming from the 2004 vintage. Best part of all, you can pick up the current vintage of this reserve Norton from St. James Winery online for only $19.99.
A gorgeous combination of leather, kitchen spices, vanilla cream, and dried plum show initially on the nose. Toasted coconut macaroons, sage, blackberry, honey, and licorice all make an appearance, creating a beautifully complex aroma.
Prune and poached black plum introduce the palate, quickly giving way to vanilla, creamed honey, sage, and leather. Toasty coconut tones and tart black cherry notes show around the edges and into the finish. This is a plush, deliciously complex, and wonderfully unique wine.
Worth Buying. 92 points.
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The Grapevine: Ever tried an American wine or an American hybrid? What were your thoughts?