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wrcstl

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A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by wrcstl » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:29 pm

Went trout fishing in St. James Missouri and at the turnoff of the highway saw the St. James Winery. OK, Missouri does not make the best wines in the world but St. James seems to get the most awards and has been making wine for a long time. We were early so decided to stop. St. James winery had a great tasting room, about 25 wines all lined up from dry to sweet with white and reds both out but by sweetness. There was a couple of fruit wines and even a non alcoholic wine. This is a serious winery and they have properly given up growing vinifera as the climate extremes are just not acceptable for cab, chard et all. You can grow vinifera but as the people at the winery said, you can't get cab and chard to do what they need to do so you just make mediocre wines. I tasted the first 6 dry wines and then the last two dessert wines. Their premier grapes are Norton and Chardonnel. They made a reserve Chardonnel that had too much oak but evidently what a lot of people like. They had a more normal Chardonnel for $8.99 that saw little oak, had a nice fresh taste and had the tell tale chardonnel foral bouquet, a great bargain and one went in the basket for trout fishing. Two interesting dessert wines. The first was a late harvest Chardonnel that was allowed to rot on the vines. It was $28 for a 375 and is only made in very select years due to the race between rot and severe cold weather. It was interesting but almost too sweet with a pruney characteristic. For $24 I picked up a late harvest Vignoles to serve as a surprise with dessert at a dinner party. Complex, not cloying sweetness, bright, medium body and overall a very nice drink.

Drank my way through 3 nortons, one reserve with too much oak and one that saw 6 months that was more to my taste. There was also a Cynthiana(same grape) that saw no oak. I have tried but just can't seem to enjoy these wines. They are simple with a rustic almost wild taste and never seem to develop beyond that point. Fun to drink at a winery picnic but certainly won't find a place in my cellar. Also tried a Chambercin but not much there and even less interesting than the Nortons.

If you are in Missouri and anywhere near St. James this place is worth a stop. They have a great tasing room, friendly people and lots of Missouri wine stuff to purchase. Fun to taste, some good wines (big plus to the Chardonnel) but Chateaux St. James it is not.

Walt
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Paul B.

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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by Paul B. » Sun Jun 18, 2006 9:07 pm

Many thanks for the interesting post, Walt. Chateau St. James it may not be, but it sounds good enough for me. Chardonel has been getting very good reviews for a number of years now. I agree that Norton tends to have a wild flavour, and for me it is this precise flavour that I so enjoy.

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Isaac

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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by Isaac » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:31 am

I find myself wondering, why make both a Norton and a Cynthiana? Same grape, after all. Different clones, maybe?
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by OW Holmes » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:11 pm

We enjoyed a bottle of chilled semi-dry Michigan riesling waiting for the Hex hatch in northern Michigan on Sat. nite. Trout fishing and wine are a definite match.
So, Walt, did you catch any trout? What kind of hatches do you have there?
-OW
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by Randy Buckner » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:34 pm

If you are in Missouri and anywhere near St. James this place is worth a stop. They have a great tasing room, friendly people and lots of Missouri wine stuff to purchase. Fun to taste, some good wines


Shame to see a good man go bad.... When will you be shipping me your Bordeaux wines? :wink:
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by wrcstl » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:58 am

Isaac wrote:I find myself wondering, why make both a Norton and a Cynthiana? Same grape, after all. Different clones, maybe?


Isaac,
I asked that same question at the tasting room. In Missouri there is a loose trend of calling it Cynthiana south of the river and Norton north of the river. At the same winery it makes no sense and both wines were from their own grapes. They had two Nortons, one with lots of oak and one with little oak, both fairly large structure. The Cynthiana was much lighter, little oak and really more like a bad Beaujoulais. They agreed it was the same grape but just a different wine style by the winemaker. Seems silly but keep in mind probably 95%+ do not know that Cynthiana and Norton are the same. It's marketing..
Walt
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by Mark Lipton » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:09 pm

OW Holmes wrote:We enjoyed a bottle of chilled semi-dry Michigan riesling waiting for the Hex hatch in northern Michigan on Sat. nite. Trout fishing and wine are a definite match.
So, Walt, did you catch any trout? What kind of hatches do you have there?


Ah, yes, the fabled Hex hatch of N. Michigan. What river do you fish? I've tried the Little Manistee and Pere Marquette off season. I don't think I could take the crush of humanity that greets the Hex hatch, though it might be fun to watch. And some day I'm gonna have to try fishing for steelhead up there...

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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by wrcstl » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:24 pm

OW Holmes wrote:We enjoyed a bottle of chilled semi-dry Michigan riesling waiting for the Hex hatch in northern Michigan on Sat. nite. Trout fishing and wine are a definite match.
So, Walt, did you catch any trout? What kind of hatches do you have there?


OW,
Caught too many. The good news is that they are all 3/4 to 1 lb. I am a meat fisherman and go each year to try and get about 20, two meals of fresh trout and then enough for two batches of smoked trout, my favorite. Obviously the trout ranch wants you to catch as many as possible. Took my mother-in-law who loves to fish. One person baits the hook and one person takes the fish off the line, it takes two people to fish with her. Over an evening and a moring I caught (use that term lightly) 12, she didn't want to stop until we had 29. The owners loved us. Have several parties coming up and the smoked trout will be put to good use.
Walt
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by Howie Hart » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:50 pm

My brother-in-law is an avid fly-fisherman (catch and release only) and has a personal goal of catching a trout in all 50 states. As he travels frequently in his job, he gets to try many places and I think he's caught at least one in over 35 states now.
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by OW Holmes » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:29 pm

wrcstl wrote: Over an evening and a moring I caught (use that term lightly) 12, she didn't want to stop until we had 29. The owners loved us.


29 - that's a season's worth of trout fishing for me.
And what kind of wine will you serve with the smoked trout????
-OW
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wrcstl

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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by wrcstl » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:56 pm

OW Holmes wrote:
wrcstl wrote: Over an evening and a moring I caught (use that term lightly) 12, she didn't want to stop until we had 29. The owners loved us.


29 - that's a season's worth of trout fishing for me.
And what kind of wine will you serve with the smoked trout????


I agree it was a pigish trip to the creek but is is also a season's worth since I only go once. Have to blame my 84 year old mother-in-law for the high number. The wine has to be white and probably should have some body. I bought a few '03 village Chablis just for the ocassion. Fat year, drinks early but still not over the top, but hey, I am a Chablis slut and it is also my wife's favorite white wine. My second choice would be a German riesling with a touch of RS.
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by OW Holmes » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:48 pm

That's an interesting one to try to match - smoked trout. I haven't a clue, but I am sure there are some whites out there that have a bit of smoke in them. I know I have tasted some, but for the life of me cannot remember what they were.
-OW
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by Paul B. » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:01 pm

OW Holmes wrote:That's an interesting one to try to match - smoked trout. I haven't a clue, but I am sure there are some whites out there that have a bit of smoke in them.

Now, this certainly belongs in the realm of the esoteric, but Stoney Ridge in the Niagara Peninsula used to make an oaked Seyval that was given the full-on Chardonnay-type treatment ... yet despite the obvious characteristics that this imparted, there was also a smoky-buckwheat note contributed by the grape itself. The reason I remember that wine so well is that it was the strangest - but tasty - white I've ever had. And without a doubt, the smokiest.
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Re: A winery stop on the way to trout fishing

by wrcstl » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:29 pm

OW Holmes wrote:That's an interesting one to try to match - smoked trout. I haven't a clue, but I am sure there are some whites out there that have a bit of smoke in them. I know I have tasted some, but for the life of me cannot remember what they were.


OW,
smoked trout is probably a perfect match for an oaky west coast chard but I am so adverse to oak, and have non in my cellar, that I have to make other choices. Truth be know smoked trout is so popular around our house it goes with any full bodied wine that you enjoy.
Walt

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