This past week we opened another bottle from our Norton collection, a 2003 from Mount Pleasant Winery. We had purchased this wine after it had won the 2005 Missouri Governor's Cup - at a premium of course. Mount Pleasant Winery is one of Missouri's oldest wineries, first established in 1959. It later became a casualty of Prohibition, but was re-opened almost 50 years ago by the Dressel family. And today, the Norton grape is as great a part of the enterprise as it was a century ago.
Their 2003 Norton is a dry, full bodied wine and surprisingly spicy - more like a Syrah than a Norton. Initially there was also only a slight grapey flavor and the spicy finish was dominant. However, as the wine was left to breathe, the spiciness subsided in favor of the grape flavor. We discovered this after opening the bottle pairing with a bowl of chili. Initially the spiciness from each offering contradicted each other and we set the glasses to the side. After dinner, we tried the wine again and found that "decanting" mellowed the wine where it was much more complementary to spicy foods. The wine worked in both scenerios; if you would like a Syrah styled wine - drink this Norton immediately. If you are looking for a more traditional Norton - full bodied wine - let the wine decant.