Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More on Missouri wine

The tour of selected Missouri wineries continues: We headed out on a Saturday to hit several wineries in the St. James area, enjoying decent weather and expecting crowds. We were surprised at how few people we found out on this delightful autumn day.

We wanted to hit a few old favorites and a new spot or two. We headed for FERRINGO’s winery, located in an old barn just outside town. In our last visit in 2007, we met the owner who had suffered a recent stroke. As we turned into the drive, we found the old name was gone and new sign, TWO SQUIRREL’s winery, was in its place. A gentleman working outside said the winery was not yet licensed, but should open in the next month or so. I hesitated, thanked the man and pulled out of the lot. I wanted to ask, but decided not to ask after the previous owner.

We headed on to the next stop, HEINRICHHAUS vineyard and winery, well out in the country. The owner was born in the Rhine Valley in Germany, speaks with a thick accent, and has some strong feelings about wine and winemaking. Heinrich only makes dry wines, typically has five to six for sampling off an old oak wine barrel in his small tasting room. Its best to taste all the wines or you may get “The Look” when you say you don’t care for reds or whites. His wine is excellent, unique, and the experience is well worth the drive up his long, narrow lane.

We had never stopped at ROSATI winery and vineyard, in the very small town of Rosati, so we drove the short distance to see what they had. We drove along rows of grapevines, for mile after mile ad when we got to the winery, it was closed! The sign said “Winery Museum open 2010”, so we headed back into St. James proper.

We always enjoyed visiting the ST JAMES winery, it is one of the largest in the state and has a different approach to wine sales. Their wine tasting is self-serving, you grab a small plastic cup and pour a sample of whatever of the many wines they offer. The prices grab your attention, from $3.99 to $12.99 a bottle with generous discounts for case purchases. We talked with some of the staff who agreed they get a lot of questions about prices, but their whole concept is to sell a lot of wine and build a strong and loyal customer base. They distribute their wine nationally, so you can find it even locally.

All-in-all, we found a lot of great wines and bought a good bit ourselves. We enjoy this annual visit to the wine country of Missouri, but there are many more wineries we have not visited, including a wine region south of St Louis that is gaining national recognition. We’ve got to work that in next year, maybe?

NOUVEAU WINE TASTING: We are planning a tasting of the 2009 vintage wine on Saturday, November 21 during regular business hours of our three dry red wines. Watch here for more information!

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