The Good, The Bad and The Ugly No. 3

Grapes of wrath

Yeeeeeeeeeee-haw!
Yeeeeeeeeeee-haw!
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I spent the last two weeks in good ol’ Missourah—that’s Missouri for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Show Me state is their burgeoning wine industry. Even more surprising is the fact that the state was once a leader in our country’s wine production. Thanks to prohibition, many outstanding wineries were closed and forgotten. Well, they’re back with a vengeance and bottling up loaded grape juice that truly packs a punch. The grapes are surprising—many unfamiliar —and caused me to rethink my idea of a good vino.

The good—make that the best—is a very special grape called Norton. This “Cabernet of the Ozarks” caught me by surprise with its no-nonsense wallop of spiciness and fullness. In a little town called Hermann is the picture-perfect Stone Hill Winery where this delicate fruit is brought to life with amazing attention to my pal Norton’s full potential. I spoke with the winery’s PR chick, Patty, and her passion for MO wines rubbed off on me. She knocked the snob right out of me. I strongly recommend you have them send you a bottle or two to enjoy in your finest overalls.

It’s hard to believe that there could be anything bad to say, but my visit to Summit Lake Winery left a bad taste in my mouth—though not because of their wines. They have a lovely Vidal Blanc and a sweet little blend called So Blue. My issue is with the manager, Al. He not only knew nothing about their wines but had very little time to tell me he knew nothing. I was also miffed by their tasting room which was no more than two feet at the end of the bar. But hey, I did get to hear an acoustic version of "Sweet Jane," compliments of a duo called The Foxhounds who were rocking the patio with their unplugged versions of oldies but goodies.

Unfortunately, wine a n also turn ugly. The ugly thing about Missouri wine is the lack of respect it gets from us snooty oenophiles. Just think: Thousands of bottles of primo vino are not being guzzled by you because you won’t give them a chance. I don’t think you can forgive yourself if you go another day without a glass of Vignoles or Chambourcin simply because it comes from the other side of the proverbial tracks. Go ahead and try it. I won’t tell.