Many people think of Zinfandel as “America’s Grape”, largely due to the venerable age of its many vineyards. However, it is the Norton grape that arguably should be considered the true native American grape. A non-vinifera variety, Norton has thrived in the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern regions of the country for more than a century and a half, and produces a robust red wine with big fruit flavors that seems to age quite well for many years. In fact, 125 years ago, Norton wines were deemed the “best red wine of all nations” at a worldwide competition in Vienna. Today excellent versions of Norton are being produced in many states east of the Rockies, most notably in Missouri and Virginia.
On our recent trip to visit several Mid-Atlantic wineries, we were fortunate to spend some time with Jenny McCloud, proprietor of Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia. Join us as we talk with Jenny about the Norton grape’s unique place in American winemaking, and take a little vineyard tour in the process.
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