Missouri has a long history of winemaking dating back to the 19th Century. In fact, before prohibition Missouri was the second largest wine producing state in the U.S. Missouri’s post-prohibition wine revival was slow to get off the ground but the first modern wineries opened in the mid 1960’s and today they have over 1700 acres under vine. But throughout that history, the grapes grown in Missouri were native American or hybrid varietals. The conventional wisdom was that you can’t grow v. vinifera (the species of grape that makes familiar wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay) in Missouri. It’s too cold in the winter and too humid during the growing season.
That is until Michael Amigoni of Amigoni Urban Winery decided to challenge conventional wisdom. He planted several vinifera varieties in 1997; today he makes about 4000 cases of very fine wine from 100% vinifera grapes sold out of his urban winery in downtown Kansas City. Growing vinifera in Missouri is of course a challenge and he has to purchase some fruit from the West Coast to keep up with demand. But depending on the vintage, 50%-80% of his grapes are Missouri grown. I tasted several of his wines at a recent visit to the winery and this one stood out, in part because it is 100% Missouri grown. It’s also really good!
Enticing, bright red plum is woven with crushed gravel and tobacco leaf aromas with slight hints of cedar. The palate is spare and elegant, with a gentle opening, followed by incisive midpalate acidity revealing a graphite seam that gains increasing prominence, launching a tart, peppery finish with dried cherry notes. Medium body, medium length with fine-grained yet assertive tannins, this wine is taut, under control, yet quite polished and vibrant.
The mood is cool, polished chrome, a refined, stylish austerity. It takes me back to 80’s techno clubs and Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics