Weekly Wine Quiz #93: Grape Trivia – Norton
The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…
Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!
We are continuing our grape trivia series, with the focus still on the red grapes, and today’s subject is Norton, a uniquely North American grape.
When you ask people what is the America’s signature red grape, most probable answer you will get is Zinfandel. However, we need to remember that Zinfandel was actually brought here from Croatia and it still has its ancestors happily growing there – it doesn’t make it any less an American Signature Grape – but – there is actually a grape which is called The Real American Grape®, and this grape is Norton.
What makes Norton so special? The origins of the grape are somewhat unclear, most often associated with the work of Dr. Daniel Norton, who spent lots of time and efforts to create the grape which would survive in Virginia. You see, despite the similarities in the climate conditions between Virgina and Bordeaux, most of the European grape cuttings coming from France would simply die in Virginia soil. Norton, which was born some time around 1820, became the first cross of European and native American grapes which not only survived, but also produced very palatable wines. Actually, the wines were that good, that in 1873 at the worldwide competition in Vienna, the Norton wine from Missouri was declared the “Best Red Wine of All Nations“. I guess another mystery associated with Norton is the fact that even with such a high designation, it didn’t spread violently all over the United States. The fact that the Norton vines are very particular to the types of soil they grow in, plus mass destruction of the Norton vineyards during Prohibition (they were replaced with plantings of Concord), were some of the key factors standing in the way of Norton’s success. Today, Norton is successfully growing in many of the Mid-Atlantic states in US, but it is still mostly known locally, particularly due to the draconian wine shipping laws in US.
Norton has deep-blue colored skin, and it is known for the very high anthocyanin content, which in turn is associated with the number of health benefits, such as “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic”properties, according to the Wikipedia. Norton wines are generally full-bodied, with an interesting earthy profile, good structure and showing off a red fruit notes. Norton wines can age quite well, and they actually require a few years in the cellar to be enjoyed fully.
And now, to the quiz!
Q1: Which of the following are synonyms of Norton?
b. St. Croix
c. St. Vincent
d. Virginia Seedling
Q2: The winery in which state holds the trademark The Real American Grape®:
Q3: Norton is an official State Grape of:
Q4: Norton grape generally classified as:
a. Vitis Aestivalis
b. Vitis Cinerea
c. Vitis Labrusca
d. Vitis Vinifera
Q5: As you know, Riedel is the best known wine glass maker, which creates wine glasses designated for different varietals. True or False: Riedel makes a special varietal glass designated to Norton
Bonus: have you ever had Norton wine? What do you think?
Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!