Missouri wines

If you buy wine based on label design, you’ve probably never tasted Missouri wine (or you have appalling visual taste). Something approaching 90% of Missouri’s wine labels are crap. If they’d give a 5 year-old some crayons, a piece of construction paper and spelled out N-O-R-T-O-N, they’d end up with a better label. It’d at least be charming and simple. Instead, we get this and this and this. It’s a nightmare.

Not so with Chaumette’s line. They have either employed a graphic designer or one already worked for them. The labels look nice. Unlike this, THEY DO NOT MAKE YOU WANT TO RIP YOUR EYES OUT. You may actually buy the wine. Which is what I did recently at The Root Cellar, where they began selling wine and beer last week.

Chaumette Mosaic: Too much sugar on the front; too much weird, lingering spice/heat on the back. It’s a caterwauling wine, a green, raw-tasting mess. But the label? It purdy.

Chaumette Norton 2010: The Norton is an improvement. It has that vegetal funk that turns most people off – and still a hot/spicy finish – but is fairly balanced. Funky and moderately off-putting is a tough place to be for a $17 bottle of wine (which I am in no way saying is “overpriced,” just that it’s competing against a world that makes a lot of far more serviceable $17 bottles of wine).

Chaumette Chardonel 2010: Chardonel is one of the better whites grown in Missouri, and this is a solid effort from Chaumette. Weighty and layered, this unoaked Chardonel exhibits some of the minerally liveliness of white Burgundy.

Other wines:

Westphalia Semi-Dry Riesling: I’ve long been a fan of Westphalia’s Cabernet Franc and they are good people. This wine, less so. It smells syrupy and plods around the glass when swirled. It’s thick. Strangely enough, it doesn’t actually taste as sweet as you think it will, but it still lacks all refinement. A malty, unpleasant wine.

Augusta Vidal Blanc 2010: The best bottle of the bunch. Light and floral with enough time on oak to give it some depth, it’d be great with seafood. An excellent bottle.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

7 thoughts

  1. LOVE this post. I am NOT a designer by any stretch of the imagination — a straight line seems a marvel to me. But even I get your dismay over Missouri wine labels! Some labels are so literal, I’m relieved there is no wine called body parts! *bleedingeyes*

  2. Scott, when you review wine, you go from being informative to being brilliant. Loved this post.

  3. So true…the labels on many MO wines look ridiculous and do not inspire confidence in what’s inside the bottles. Those Les Bourgeois labels are particularly hideous.

    Thanks for checking out those Chaumette wines, I noticed them at Root Cellar. Also good to know that you like the Westphalia Cab Franc because I happened to pick that one up there last week and am looking forward to giving it a try.

  4. I have to say that I would rather drink really good wine from a bottle with a child-like label than drink wine that tastes “funky” and “off-putting” with a nice label.

  5. Call me gaudy and kitschy, but I like the Adam Puchta one. The other two ARE hideous. But have to agree with Emily….you know the old saying….can’t judge a book (wine) by its cover (label). 🙂

  6. I had to see what we bought while doing the wine trips.

    Chaumette – i don’t particularly care for Chardonel, and we bought *two* bottles. Their’s is one of the best.

    Westphalia was closed for tasting when we stopped by, so we just got the passport stamped. We bought the chocolate wine at Hy-Vee, but we were expecting it to be more like Choco-Vine (more like a liquer) and didn’t really care for it.

    Augusta – the semi-dry Traminette is what we bought, but the only note I have from Angela (she had to take notes in order to be able to decipher them later) is “great with food”.

    Belmont (one of the best wineries in the state) also has a good Chardonel.

    1000 Oaks (the best winery in the state) also had a Chardonel that we purchased. I don’t think you can get their stuff unless you go there. They also have very classy looking wine bottles: http://www.1000-oaks-winery.com/wines.htm

    Their Norton, “Decompression” is the best Norton in the state.

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