Virginia's homegrown grape makes a comeback
Sure, California can produce world-class Cabs, but when it comes to creating a varietal from scratch, the prize belongs to Virginia.
Norton is a born-and-bred Virginia grape that produces inky, rich red wine. The hybrid was cultivated in Richmond in the early 19th century and quickly became one of the country's most popular varietals before Prohibition killed the market.
Since then, it's been overshadowed by grapes like Zinfandel and Syrah, but the bold, fruit-forward Norton deserves a second taste.
Not only is it perfect for wintery stews and dark chocolate, but the grape's dark, thick skin gives it a high level of antioxidants. So you can drink your berry-based vitamins until they come into season. Here are three homegrown bottles to enjoy:
Paradise Springs Norton ($29) This brand-new winery ages its rich, fruit-packed wine in Hungarian oak for six months (available at Trummer's on Main for $35).
Chrysalis Estate-Bottled Norton (pictured; $16) This winery boasts the largest plot of Norton vines in the world. The Estate-Bottled wine is easy on the wallet and full of jammy, berry flavor (available at Total Wine & More).
Rappahannock Cellars Norton ($22) The spiciest bottle in the pack, this deep, tannic red holds its own against pot roasts and winter stews. The winery also produces a Port-style dessert wine using Norton grapes (available at Virginia Wine Experience).
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