|StarChefs.com: The United Grapes of America|
Monday, February 18, 2013
Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery and Davenport Winery at least once a month. Holy-Field was easiest to reach, situated not far from Interstates 70 and 435 and on course to the airport. Davenport, on the other hand, required a special trip to Lawrence, about 30 miles away. Fortunately, owner Greg Sipes accommodated my schedule by hosting regular business hours until 7PM on Wednesdays - lucky me. Like their neighbors in Missouri, Kansas wine consumers enjoy a good Norton and a couple Kansas wineries such as Davenport comply. Sipes has produced several styles of Norton, with one being the Matrot Norton, named after the Matrot Castle, a Topeka landmark since 1883 and a clandestine Prohibition hangout. Davenport Winery now operates a satellite tasting facility from the castle.
Returning to the Matrot Norton, it was made from Kansas grown grapes and aged in used whiskey casks. I purchased this non-vintage wine in 2006, so it has had six and a half years to mature in bottle. My Missouri friends tell me that you should never open a Norton before three years in the bottle, so this wine should be primed. The nose starts with an interesting combination of grape (almost concord-ish) and leather, followed by creamy vanilla cherry on the palette. The grapiness completely subsides resembling more of a Cabernet Franc profile particularly with the spicy, green peppery finish. And no trace of the whiskey. Not bad at all and at, I believe $15, easy on the wallet. Also pairs well with leftover Valentine's Day chocolate.