Virginia wines are made up of myriad varietal grapes: Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Viognier, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Norton (the oldest native North American varietal), Petit Verdot and Chambourcin.
Since I'm in DC on business for a few days, I decided to take the opportunity to taste a Virginia wine. I opted for a Horton Vineyards 2009 Norton, happily a relatively inexpensive option. As you can see from the photo, it is nearly black in color, with some great fruitiness, though extremely smooth. According to Horton, the wine has "intensely fruity aroma of plums and tart cherries. Ageing in oak has given this wine a long, flavorful, spicy finish. A wine for game, grilled sausages, and spicy ethnic foods. The vision of Horton Vineyards is to grow grapes ideally suited to the climate of the Old Dominion. This vision has led to the planting of French Rhone, Bordeaux and native Virginia grapes. Horton Vineyards is proud to re-introduce the famous Norton wine, the original Virginia Claret. Norton is a native Virginia grape that produced the internationally prize winning clarets of the Monticello Wine Company of Charlottesville in the late 1800's." As a resident of the Midwest, I've heard much about the Norton grape, which was a standout for Missouri wines before Prohibition decimated the wine industry here in the States. Really happy I finally got to try it.
The Norton was an addition to my Wine Century Club, which I also added to by drinking an Argentinian wine made from the Torrontés grape. I'm up to 30 varietal grapes, almost a 1/3rd of the way!
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