Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Month of Fire and Norton

As January comes to a close, the days are growing longer and the much brighter light streams into my windows each morning through the bare branches of my black oak, casting wintry shadows on my bedroom wall. Like clockwork, with longer daylengths and drying days, fire weather has dramatically improved in the past few weeks bringing in earnest prescribed fire events across the Ozark Highlands. Fire behavior in January isn't always as polite as it has been this month, and by late February I'll be thinking about the niceties of late January fires: predictable, excellent smoke lift, effective, and without a roar.

The Missouri Wine and Grape Board designated January as Norton Month to celebrate the state's signature bold red wine. Granted, every month is Norton month in my book, what with Norton being my favorite Missouri wine. The Norton Wine Travelers shared a link on what seems to be a different take on the genetic background of the Norton grape; the article reports that the cross may have been with Vitis cinerea, another local grapevine, rather than V. aestivalis. Intriguing. Read the article here.

I didn't collect nearly as many Nortons in January as I had intended to, but the long President's Day weekend plans include a trip to the St. James wine region to remedy this situation. I look forward to trying the 2013 vintages and talking to winemakers about their wine in barrels from the past wet 2015 growing season. Writing on a 55 degree morning and no interest in watching Djokovic beat Murray in the Australian Open Men's Final, perhaps today will also include a visit to a winery to celebrate Norton Month!

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