Save a Place at the Table for Missouri Norton

Norton is Missouri's signature wine and grape, and January is its official month of celebration. There is no better way to recognize this one-of-a-kind, full-bodied red than to enjoy it with the many foods that bring out its rich flavors.

The flavors of Norton vary by winemaker, but notes of berries, spice, chocolate and vanilla are often identified in this complex varietal. Most Norton wines are dry, but can sometimes be found in other styles. Norton's firm tannins allow its many aromas to unfold slowly on the palate. It pairs best with foods that have bold qualities such as blue cheese, and red meats that are grilled, smoked or barbecued.

Norton is the perfect wine to share with friends and family at your next gathering. Norton's uniqueness is a conversation starter alongside these complementary zesty tomato tarts. For another Norton-friendly appetizer, try sunflower seed and rosemary crackers served with caramelized onion dip.

A dry, smooth glass of Norton will complement the sweet, tart and spicy flavors of sausage with smashed potatoes and cornichons, and the Cajun kick of blackened salmon and rice. Norton not only tastes great with beef bourguignonne, but can also be used as one of the main ingredients in this hearty meal.

If you resolved to eat healthier in the new year, don't worry. Pair Norton with the tomato sauce, garlic and ground sirloin in a reduced fat, high-fiber version of spaghetti and meatballs.  Norton will also enhance other wholesome meals such as steak with green beans, tomatoes and chimichurri sauce, or lean grilled lamb chops with mint.

Norton excels with desserts that master the balance of sugar and salt. After the main course, pour a glass of Norton with an elegant chocolate glazed chocolate tart. Or sip it with this simple dessert of red wine-poached pears. Sweet, Port wines that are made from Norton grapes go well with creamy cheesecake or drizzled over scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.

Missouri's award-wining Norton wines are an excellent companion to any culinary adventure.

Norton pairs well with good eating!

Ready, Set… Upcycle! Wine & Candles

The temperatures are finally rising after what seemed like a never-ending winter. As the bright colors of Spring begin to emerge and the light breeze wafts the smell of new growth past, you know it’s about that time… time to once again enjoy the outdoors. Is your patio, deck or porch ready for the new season? Here are some great DIY ways to take your outdoor entertaining to the next level:

Pallet Wine Rack – Repurposing wooden pallets is all the rage. Why not join in the fun with this useful and outdoor friendly wine rack. (Source: Virginia Sweet Pea)

Recycled Wine Bottle Bird Feeders – Prep your patio for ultimate bird-watching enjoyment with these beautiful and eco friendly bird buffets. (Source: The Garden Roof Co-op)

Mountable Wine Bottle Torches – The days may be getting longer, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had after dark, especially when you have these awesome wine bottle torches to light the way. (Source: Design Sponge)

Wine Barrel Ice Chest- This DIY project isn’t as difficult as it sounds. The hardest thing may be getting your hands on a wine barrel. It’s totally worth it though, because not only will it keep your beverages cold as the temperatures begin to rise, but it also serves as a great conversation piece for those backyard get-togethers. (Source:

Wine Bottle Candle Covers – There is just something wonderful and whimsical about candlelight. Keep your candles lit outside with these candle covers made out of recycled wine bottles. (Source: Invite & Delight)

Outdoor Wine Glass Holders – Ever feel like you could really use a third hand. This super simple DIY project will provide just that while you enjoy spending some time with Mother Nature. (Source: Catch My Party)

Missouri wine pairs well with DIY projects and getting back outside!

Pairing Bread with Missouri Wine

Bread comes in many delectable forms, and January is a month devoted to honoring this staple. The first 31 days of the year have been declared National Bread Month. January also includes National Croissant Day (January 30).  Missouri wines are the perfect accompaniment to fête this classic comfort food.

Yeast is an ingredient in wine and many types of breads. The flavors and aromas of bread dough and biscuits can be detected in some varietals. In addition to similarities in taste, wine and bread have a  history together that dates back at least as far as ancient Greece, where wine-soaked bread was a common breakfast. When Greek men got together to recite poems, they drank wine with either bread or cheese. The ancient Greeks also made a bread called psadista from fine flour, oil and wine as an offering to the earth gods and goddesses.

Bread is appropriate for meals at any time of day, which gives wine-lovers many opportunities to try out pairings. For breakfast or brunch, a fruit-forward, Vignoles is a match for French toast. Pour a sparkling wine while indulging in the flaky layers of a buttery croissant or pair a fruity Catawba with a decadent raspberry white chocolate muffin. A light lunch of salad and caramelized onion and goat cheese bread calls for a crisp Seyval or full-bodied Norton. Beat the winter blues with a hot bowl of soup, a slice of old world cheese bread and a glass of Traminette. A dry white wine such as Chardonel complements the cornmeal, buttermilk and bacon drippings in southern-style cornbread. Serve this traditional side dish with a hearty chili to warm up on an icy evening. If you still have room for dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth with banana-apple bread and a crisp Chardonel.

When wine and bread come together in recipes, the results are delicious. Dry red wine, such as Norton or Chambourcin, is used to make the dough for red wine rosemary bread, and sweet and peppery-hot  wine biscuits. Leftover white wine is put to tasty use in savory olive, bacon and cheese bread that's ideal for a quick lunch, dinner or appetizer.

With so much bread to devour, January is the ideal month to explore the many delightful ways that these diverse baked goods can be enhanced by your favorite Missouri wines.

Missouri wines pair well with celebrating bread!

New Year's Resolution: Manage Your Missouri Wines

The beginning of a new year is a motivating time to make positive changes. While you are feeling encouraged, consider making a New Year's resolution to organize, inventory, properly store and restock your selection of Missouri wines. 

The first step to getting the most out of your wine in the new year is organization. There is no right or wrong way to arrange your collection. Whatever method you choose should make your wine more accessible when you are ready to enjoy it. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Varietals: Put wines that are made with the same principle grape, such as Norton, Vignoles or Chardonel, in the same space.
  • Geography: Group Missouri wines from the same region and/or wine trail together. 
  • Color and Type: Separate red, white and rosé wines into different sections. Break each section down further with more specific descriptions such as dry, sweet or sparkling.
  • Brand: Bottles that come from the same vineyard can be placed together.
  • Value: Differentiate between wines that are for anytime and wines that are for special occasions. Set aside wines that you'd like to watch age.

Once your wine is organized, it is time to create or update a record of what you have in storage. There are several ways to manage your wine inventory including free online and smartphone tools like the Missouri Wines app, which assist users in keeping notes on the state's wineries and wines. There are also restaurant-style interactive systems with barcode scanners and printers that can be installed into home wine cellars. In addition, you can use any spreadsheet program that evaluates and organizes data. Track information such as the name of each wine, the number of bottles you have, where each bottle is located, the monetary value of your collection and personal tasting notes. Color-coded wine bottle tags allow you to get information about your wines at a glance. 

Whether you are a serious wine collector or just have a few bottles, proper storage is required to preserve the quality of your wine. Wooden crates, wine racks and wine refrigerators are all adequate if you don't have a custom basement cellar. Your wine will do best in a dark, cool area that is not too damp or too dry.  The ideal temperature is a steady 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level between 50 to 80 percent.  To prevent the corks from drying out, store wine bottles horizontally.

A well-organized, inventoried and correctly stored wine collection is ripe for expansion. With so many award-winning Missouri wines from which to choose, this can be both an exciting and overwhelming task. Ask yourself these questions as you prepare to explore wines that are new to you:

  • What kind of foods do I cook on a regular basis, and which wines pair best with those types of cuisines?
  • Do I have a variety of light, full-bodied, dry, sweet, red, white and sparkling wines for entertaining?
  • How can I widen my collection to represent a diverse array of wineries, regions and grapes? 
  • Do I have at least one case of my favorite Missouri wine set aside for gift-giving throughout the year?

With your collection stocked and organized, it will be easier than ever to savor Missouri wine all year long. 

Missouri wines pair well with New Year's resolutions!

Toast the New Year with Missouri Sparkling Wine

The start of a new year is the perfect time to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly. A celebratory sip of one of Missouri’s award-winning sparkling wines is a refreshing alternative to traditional Champagne, a term commonly used to describe all sparkling wines but only really means those made in the Champagne region of France.

Missouri’s sparkling wines vary in color from white to rosé and have a light to medium body. They treat your taste buds to floral flavors and the aroma of fresh-baked bread. The famous bubbles in sparkling wine can be created through double fermentation, known as méthode champenoise. In this process, the second round of fermentation takes place inside each individual bottle of wine, and the wines are aged for a period of 15 months to more than three years before being sold. There is also an easier, faster bulk process of adding bubbles to wine called the Charmat process.

Before choosing a sparkling wine, you should be familiar with the different types that are available.  Missouri sparkling wines typically come in one of these categories:

  • Brut/Extra Brut sparkling wine is very dry, with extra brut being the driest. These are popular because they pair well with most foods including smoked salmon, fried chicken and spicy Asian cuisine.
  • Extra Dry sparkling wines have just a hint of sweetness, and are often served before a meal with light appetizers like oysters, cold shrimp or chicken saté.
  • Dry sparkling wines can be mixed with juices or liqueurs to create innovative, trendy winetails.
  • Spumante/Sweet sparkling wines put the finishing touch on your meal as they are an ideal match for fruit and desserts such as chocolate dipped strawberries and sorbet.
  • Mead sparkling wines have a main ingredient of fermented honey, and pair well with strong cheeses and savory, hearty fare.
  • Fruit sparkling wines fizz with the juices of real berries, peaches, plums, apples or cherries. Save these ripe, juicy bubbles for dessert, use them as a winetail mixer, or try with grilled pork and spicy cheeses.

If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve gathering, assortments of hors d’oeuvres that complement Missouri sparkling wines are sure to be a hit. Try these spinach and goat cheese tartlets and spicy curry pork pies with a brut. Indulge your sweet tooth with dark chocolate-raspberry cakes served with a sparkling fruit wine or spumante.

Before the festivities begin, chill your sparkling wine for 30-40 minutes in ice water or three hours in the refrigerator. A temperature of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit will keep your beverage delicious. Any unfinished wine can be preserved for a couple of days in the refrigerator with a sparkling wine stopper.

Sparkling Wine Cocktails, Cheers!

Everything is more festive when you add bubbles. That is equally true when talking about cocktails. There are some really fun concoctions out there, but adding a little bubbly is a special treat that makes any celebration more exciting. Try out these delicious recipes crafted by Master Sommelier and Master of Wine (There are only four people in the world that hold both titles!), Doug Frost:

Seelbach Cocktail

5 oz.                       Noboleis Noblevescent

1 oz.                       Buffalo Trace Bourbon

7 dashes              Angostura and Peychaud bitters

Build in a fluted glass.


Missouri Mule

3 oz.                       Les Bourgeois Vineyards Brut

¼ oz.                      Ginger syrup

¼ oz.                      Cream sherry

¾ oz.                      Lime juice

½ oz.                      Ron Zacapa

Combine and shake all ingredients except Brut. Pour over ice into a copper mug and top with Brut. Garnish with dried pineapple and grated fresh nutmeg.


French American 75 (not pictured)

2.5 oz.                   Les Bourgeois Vineyards Brut

1 oz.                       Plymouth Gin

1 oz.                       Simple syrup

1 oz.                       Fresh lemon juice

Combine and shake all ingredients except Brut. Top with Brut.

Missouri (sparkling) wine pairs well with cocktails!

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Wine Lovers

Pumpkin, Pumpkin and More Pumkin!

There are many people that believe the best part of Fall is pumpkin… everything. You can find it in lattés, pies, and even smoothies. Pumpkins provide more than just flavor this time of year. Visiting a pumpkin patch is fun for all ages. They act beautiful Harvest-themed decorations around the house. You can even find pumpkin sneaking into wine. Several Missouri wineries make pumpkin or pumpkin inspired wines.

Embrace the pumpkin take-over with these delicious and festive treats:

Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds make a great snack or appetizer and pair well with Chambourcin.

Pumpkin Leek Soup is the perfect dish for a cool day. Match this slightly sweet soup with a rich, smooth Chardonel.

Bring Sausage Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing to your Thanksgiving celebration and you will be the talk of the meal. Don’t forget the Vignoles!

Take the classic pumpkin pie to the next level with this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe and pair with a pumpkin wine or Traminette.

Missouri Wine and Riedel Partner for Vignoles Glass

Riedel Crystal has been producing glassware for more than 250 years and 11 generations. Riedel is recognized worldwide for designing and producing the highest quality wine glasses. Riedel began making varietal specific glasses to highlight the unique characteristics of different grapes. In 2009, Riedel and the Missouri Wine Industry worked together to select a glass for the popular Norton varietal. We’re very excited to announce that we’re partnering again to select a glass that best highlights another popular Missouri varietal… Vignoles.

On December 6th, Georg Riedel, 10th generation head of Riedel, flew to Missouri to lead a workshop of winemakers and industry professionals. Participants evaluated 14 glasses, looking for the glass that best translated the “message” of Vignoles (aroma, acidity, balance, etc.). According to Riedel, shape, size and rim diameter are the three variables to consider when evaluating varietal specific glassware.

After much deliberation and discussion, it came down to two glasses. The votes were so close, Georg instructed the participants to take both glasses with them and do more comparison and consideration with their colleagues. Stay tuned to see what glass they choose!

Missouri wine pairs well with Riedel glassware!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Photo courtesy of the National Chicken Council.

It’s the age old question… why did the chicken cross the road? The answer is simple, because that’s where the wine was!

At times chicken is given the stigma of being boring. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Chicken is one of the most versatile ingredients in your kitchen. You could eat chicken every day for the month of September and never have to eat the same thing twice. From the simplest to the most complex recipes, chicken rises to the task. And what’s better? It is one of the least expensive and healthiest protein options available at your grocery store.

As you’ve probably heard, September is Missouri Wine Month. It is also National Chicken Month. How fitting is that? Chicken dishes in their vast variety pair incredibly well with Missouri varietals. Here are some examples from our friends at Food and Wine Magazine:

Try a Chicken Panini with Spinach and Pesto for a delicious and quick meal. Add a glass of Missouri Chardonel and you are set for a satisfying lunch or dinner.

Step up the excitement with Filipino Grilled Chicken. The combination of flavors will not disappoint. Pair with a slightly sweet Vignoles to calm the spiciness a bit.

Learn the secrets to the perfect roast chicken from Chef Jonathan Waxman of Top Chef Masters fame. The best thing about roast chicken is all of the things you can do with the leftovers. How do Chicken Tacos sound? Good, right? They sound even better with a glass of Vidal Blanc. Or try this twist on the classic Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Tarragon.

Whichever way you decide to prepare it, enjoy some chicken this month in celebration of National Chicken Month, and don’t forget to pair it with a glass of local wine!

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