Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Les Bourgeois Jeunette Rouge NV

And so it begins!  I am starting to post my reviews from my "Taste My Vacation" event held last weekend, so brace yourselves, this is going to be good!  We will go in the same order we tasted them, so if you click here you can see what we tasted and the order, etc.  Since we are going in order, tonight's review is of a little wine I bought at a small winery in Missouri called Les Bourgeois, just east of Kansas City (don't ask how far, this was a distraction as I was so focused on getting barbecue!).  Oh, and for all of these reviews, please excuse my photos, I took them with my phone and even though I took them all before the tasting began, it still looks like I took most of them well into the evening festivities!

Now what's interesting about this winery and Missouri in general is a specific grape called the Norton grape, as this is apparently the only wine grape that is native to North America, all the rest have been transplanted here over the centuries from Europe.  Now the Norton grape has a long and storied history, and was cultivated and made into wine not long after the revolution, including on Thomas Jefferson's estate in Virginia.  It was made into some award-winning wines in the mid-19th century, so it has some heft behind it.  Now I tried Les Bourgeois' pure Norton wine at their tasting room, and I'll admit I was taken aback when the young lady serving the wine asked me if I liked mushrooms, and then informed me that if I liked mushrooms I'd like this wine.  Not exactly a stellar endorsement, and since I really am not a big mushroom fan, I was prepared for the worst.  I was not let down, it was pretty repugnant at least in my taste.

So, I tried the Jeunette Rouge, which was a blend that contained some Norton along with a number of other varietals, and in this case I was pleasantly surprised.  The wine has a lighter color and body, similar to a pinot noir.  The nose is full of red berries, leather and an earthy aroma of mushrooms and moss.  The taste was very fruit forward, with the berry flavors quickly giving way to flavors of fresh herbs midpalate, and then leading to some wonderfully mild tannins and a smooth, dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 7, it wasn't spectacular, but for only $12 it was certainly well worth taking home from Missouri!  This one would pair nicely with some stronger fish dishes, or some classic southern cuisine given the earthiness and how that might accent some comfort foods.  So if you get down to Missouri and want to try some wine from the Norton grape, I highly recommend it!


  1. One correction, please, ~ Thomas Jefferson never experienced the Norton grape, but it is well possible that his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph did since there are records showing grape vines from Prince Nursery on Long Island possibly being sent to Monticello. Thomas Jefferson died in 1826 and the Norton vine was not discovered by Dr. Daniel Norborne Norton until 1823 or a couple years later. All of this is well chronicled in Todd Kliman's book, The Wild Vine, noting the development of the Norton grape. Today there are 263 Norton wineries in 25 states with Missouri sporting 88 of these vineyards. Most Norton wines benefit from additional years of storage. Upon opening, be sure to let your Norton wine breathe for 40 minutes or longer.

    1. I stand corrected! Thank you for this great information, I really appreciate it.