Missouri, often overlooked as a wine destination, boasts a burgeoning wine country that surprises visitors with its diversity and quality. Nestled amidst the rolling hills and fertile valleys, Missouri’s wine region offers a rich array of vineyards, wineries, and picturesque landscapes. The state’s winemaking history dates back to the early 19th century, from German immigrants who settled there, and today it hosts over 130 wineries producing a wide array of varietals. From the robust Norton to the crisp Vidal Blanc, Missouri wines showcase the unique terroir and climate of the region. Visitors can embark on wine trails, sampling award-winning wines while enjoying the warm hospitality of local vintners. With charming towns like Augusta and more, serving as gateways to this vinicultural paradise, Missouri’s wine country invites enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike to savor the flavors of the heartland.

I have not been to the region but after exploring a few of the wines in my glass, I am going to make it a point to try and visit in 2024 or 2025! These wines were all quite fruity but way better than I anticipated and out of the six I tasted, I must say I was wildly impressed. I expected very, very fruit forward wines possibly some with the word “sweet” on the label. I was wrong, these labels are attractive, varietal forward, and really have a lot to offer.

The Augusta Winery 2021 Vidal Blanc is a dry white wine crafted from the Vidal grape variety exudes a light straw hue and emits an enticing bouquet with notes of toast and florals. Its palate offers an intense body with closely intertwined fruit flavors, leading to a spicy finish. Comparable to Sauvignon Blanc and Italian Pinot Grigio, Dry Vidal pairs excellently with shellfish and seafood dishes, accentuating their flavors with its own distinct character.

The St. James winery semi-dry white 2022 boasts aromas of flowers and fruits, leading to a palate rich with nuances of marmalade and tropical pineapple, culminating in a refreshingly crisp and clean finish. This semi-dry white wine, characterized by its vivacity and approachability, and presents itself as a delightful choice for casual enjoyment.

I also love a good rosé so I was happy to be sent the St. Vincent! Nestled within the picturesque hillsides of Missouri’s heartland, this St. Vincent Rosé offers an abundance of fresh berry notes, a subtle hue, and vibrant acidity reminiscent of rosés from Southern France. Crafted through a meticulous process, their Rosé is created by gently pressing the grapes following a brief period of cold soaking, followed by a slow, cold fermentation. To enhance the lively yet delicate characteristics of the St. Vincent variety, they employ a specially selected yeast strain sourced from the Rhone region of France. The result is a Rosé that exudes elegance and charm, capturing the essence of its terroir and showcasing the artistry of their winemaking practices!

For the reds, I enjoyed the Les Bourgeois Vineyards Dry Red Wine. This medium-bodied table wine is dry and versatile. It’s fruity but smooth and showcases the essence of Missouri’s Chambourcin grape. At first I was hesitant but then dove right in, and wow did it sing! Bursting with vibrant flavors of cherry, blackberry, and plum, it offers a harmonious balance of acidity and a smooth, gentle finish.

I also had the delight of sampling a wine with a distinct “grapey” essence—the 2022 Adam Puchta Chamburcin. Dry yet remarkably fruity, it offers a burst of flavor that fills the palate. This wine is not only perfect for crafting a refreshing sangria to enjoy during summer but also pairs wonderfully with bold dishes like barbecue or pizza. Its abundant flavor profile complements dishes that stand strong on their own, making it an ideal choice when you simply want to indulge in a glass of wine.

Last, but certainly not the least was the Stone Hill Winery 2020 Norton. The Norton grape, a genuine grape native to America holds the prestigious title of being Missouri’s official state grape. Evolving under the unique growing conditions of North America, the 2020 Norton wine boasts complexity and depth. With subtle aromatic nuances of sage, cloves, black pepper, and thyme, complemented by delicate violets and toasty oak undertones from aging, it presents a savory profile. This full-bodied dry red wine delivers a rich array of flavors, including dark bramble fruits, cherry, black currant, and a hint of blueberry jam, all harmonized with silky tannins and a well-balanced, lively acidity.

I must admit, I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of Missouri wines, and I’m eager to delve deeper into their offerings. It’s an overlooked region that certainly deserves more recognition, and I feel fortunate to have sampled some exceptional wines. If you’re considering planning a trip to wine country this year, why not consider Missouri? It’s an untapped gem waiting to be explored further!