Wine is a fun topic to discuss. Starting this week, I’m choosing a wine to recommend and am starting with one of my favorites – Norton.
The Norton grape is also called Cynthiana. Dr. Daniel Norborne Norton, at his vineyard in Virginia, developed Norton as a hybrid of a vitis labrusca and a vitis vinifera grape. His goal was to grow an American grape that could produce a wine that would compare to a big European red. He was successful. It was the most popular wine grape in the late 1800’s, but it nearly died out when prohibition stopped the production of wine commercially. In the last few years, Norton has reemerged as a popular wine grape in many states nearby. A number of Kentucky wineries have begun producing Norton wines, some as their selected reserves, and these wines are growing in popularity. The Wild Vine: A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of American Wine, written by Todd Kliman, is a good read for those interested in the Norton grape.
Wines made from the Norton grape are full-bodied, deeply dark in color, have a robust fruit flavor, and hold up well to aging. This wine appeals most to lovers of the big reds. I’ve tried Nortons from French Lick Winery in Indiana, Chrysalis Vineyards and Horton Vineyards in Virginia as well several from Kentucky.
There are several Kentucky wineries producing Norton (or Cynthiana) wines. At Chrisman Mill Vineyard and Winery, visitors have a choice between a Norton aged in American Oak and a Norton Reserve aged in French Oak. Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery and River Valley Winery offers Cynthiana wines. Smith-Berry offers an unoaked Norton and brings out the fruity flavors. Wight-Meyer’s Norton is aged in oak for 12 months.
If you love red wines as much as I do, try Norton. You’ll find the flavors distinctive.This entry was posted in Wine of the Week by admin