Not every grape varietal can be grown well everywhere, but there is always a grape varietal you can grow well somewhere. In Missouri's burgeoning wine country they've branched out and really honed a craft for some uncommon grape varietals. At the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference I was honored to meet Christa who works for the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, and she was gracious enough to send me home with two bottles to review. I've previously reviewed a wine from Missouri, but it was a fruit wine from St. James Winery who also produce a Vignoles and Norton wine.
I tasted the Dry Vignoles from Adam Puchta Winery first. Adam Putcha Winery is the longest running winery in Missouri (except during prohibition). The same family has owned and worked the vineyards since 1855. Vignoles is a hybrid varietal that was originally created in France around 1930 but officially named by the Finger Lakes Wine Growers Association in 1970. I didn't find this wine dry by my standards, but it was floral and would pair very well with Spanish cheeses, such as Iberico and Manchego.
I tasted the 2015 Norton from Stone Hill Winery second. Stone Hill Winery, like Adam Puchta Winery has a long history and was originally established in 1847 by German immigrants. Norton as a grape gets a lot of bad press, which is unfortunate, because it's a great varietal that pairs well with many foods. Norton is also the official grape for the State of Missouri. To me, Norton resembles a dry concord grape wine, but with more depth and viscosity. My friends who joined me in tasting this wine pointed out that it has an incredible nose with notes of buttered popcorn, vanilla, and chocolate. I think I would be most inclined to pair it with a spicy peanut sauce dish, or freshly baked croissants.
I really enjoyed drinking both of these wines, and I really look forward to tasting more of what Missouri has to offer. Remember to always keep an open mind when drinking wine, try something new -- you just might like it!