Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2007 National Norton Wine Festival

In September, is hosting the first National Norton Wine Festival in St. Louis Missouri. The festival consists of a tasting competition held August 4th and a general tasting of 25 of the top Norton producers on September 8th. The results of the tasting competition will be announced the night before the general tasting and at the general tasting there will also be an opportunity to taste vertical Norton offerings for those who purchase a Norton VIP. The sponsors invited Norton producers from 12 states to the competition and currently there are 93 wines entered, representing 43 wineries from 10 states. Not a bad turnout. These wines will be judged by eight highly respected wine experts, such as Doug Frost (one of only three individuals who passed the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine examinations) and Bob Foster (Chief Judge of the Riverside International Wine Competition).

I am very interested to see how the east coast Norton fairs against the Midwestern wines. While traveling to the Midwest last year I became a huge fan of Kansas and Missouri Norton - such as Davenport Winery, Kugler's Vineyard, Holy-Field Winery, Stone Hill Winery, Röbller Vineyard Winery, Mount Pleasant Winery, St. James Winery, Stonehaus Farms, and Augusta Winery. There are dozens more Norton producers that I haven't tasted spread throughout Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Arkansas. Many of these wineries will be participating in the competition. From the east coast, New Jersey's Valenzano Winery is sending their Cynthiana which won the NJ Governors two years in a row. Most of Virginia's Norton producers have entered; the country's largest Norton grower Chrysalis Vineyards, Rappahannock Cellars, Cooper Vineyards, The Winery at La Grange, Veramar Vineyard, Keswick Vineyards, and Horton Vineyards. I've tasted the Norton from all these Virginia producers and believe they will be very competitive. Finally, several smaller Norton producers are also participating, including Jones Cabin Run Vineyards (West Virginia), Grove Winery (North Carolina), and Crane Creek Vineyards (Georgia).

We will post the results of the competition when they become available and look forward to trying several of these wines at the general tasting.

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