Sunday, November 20, 2016

November is Chambourcin Month

With this week's busy fireline flagging schedule and Saturday's early morning birding fieldtrip, I sadly missed the unveiling of St. James Winery's 2016 Nouveau. Beaujolais Nouveau hit the shelves like clockwork on Thursday at the fancy grocery store in my neighborhood, as usual, and just in time for the Thanksgiving table. In past years, I've picked up Missouri nouveau wines to compare to the traditional Beaujolais in a taste test, and so, my tradition in Louisiana will continue but I must score a Missouri varietal soon.

Light bodied, young and fruity red wine is the perfect choice for pairing with turkey and heavy starch sides like dressing and green bean casserole. My Thanksgiving sides tend towards roasted vegetables and stuffed acorn squash, which also pair nicely with a Beaujolais or a Missouri take on the first press. However, since only a handful of Missouri wineries produce the first young and unaged press wine, the Missouri Wine and Grape Board once again designated November as Chambourcin month. Based on no one's opinion but my own, classic Chambourcin is light like an Oregon pinot noir, with a savory and buttery finish. Missouri Chambourcin, like Norton and Traminette, is highly variable ranging from dark and inky wines to the lighter fruitier wines with minimal oak. Indiana wineries are also producing wonderful Chambourcin (and Traminette, for that matter), and Illinois is not far behind. But in Missouri I'm drinking Missouri's Chambourcin. Further, Chambourcin is often used in the production of Nouveau, along with sometimes Corot Noir and St. Vincent.

After a long day of fireline flagging, to celebrate this glorious month I opened one of Phyllis' Meramec Vineyard's Chambourcin to enjoy in my rustic little log cabin. The not-so-great wine stems certainly didn't allow for a full appreciation of this wine, but as usual, it was lovely and perfect for a campfire and s'mores.

It's sad to me Thanksgiving and late fall glossed over with Christmas lights and trees going up all over the place. I love Chambourcin month, I love Beaujolais and all of my fall color clothes. I don't think I've ever had a bad Chambourcin in Missouri, it's really hard to mess up Chambourcin grapes so, usually, if a winery's Norton isn't up to snuff (or is out my price range), I'll buy a Chambourcin. I need to score some Missouri Nouveau and Chambourcin for my annual trek to Louisiana so I'm not stuck with a refrigerator of Natural Light at my dad's house.

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