On a recent trip to Kansas City to celebrate Southern Barbecue, I took a chance and googled wineries, hoping to find some but thinking I’d be out of luck. I thought I’d check anyway. Turns out there are quite a few wineries in both Missouri and Kansas. Who knew? Well apparently lots of people, just not me. In fact Missouri is the oldest wine region in the United States and the first region (predating both Napa and Sonoma) to receive it’s AVA designation. However Prohibition dealt almost a death knell to the wine industry in Missouri and Kansas for almost 100 years. Missouri before prohibition was well on its way to being a recognized and lauded wine region with emphasis on its unique Norton grape. It took until 1965 with the re opening Stone Hill Winery in Missouri ( the oldest winery in the United States) and until the 1980s in Kansas for the wine industry to grow again. I as a proud connoisseur of French and European wines indeed owe a huge debt to Missouri’s wine industry. It was Missouri’s State entomologist Charles Riley along with the French Botanist J.E Planchon who discovered that grafting European grape vines onto American root stock would save the vine from Phylloxera that was devastating French and European vines in the late 19th century. Indeed it was Missouri root stock donated to graft the vines. My taste buds can not thank them enough!
Back to present day, @benton8tor is bound and determined to enjoy Kansas City BBQ and craft beers. Now we will just add a few vineyard stops along the way. Our first stop took us to Vox Winery noted for their wines and using Native American grapes including Norton. However we made the mistake of going to the Vineyard itself not the tasting room back in Weston Missouri so we didn’t get a chance to sample ( you can sample at the vineyard if you call ahead to make and appointment). Though I didn’t get to taste it, I would recommend it as its reputation is stellar. The tasting room is in a creamery which features local cheeses as well. https://www.voxvineyards.com/
Onward to Rowe Ridge Vineyards in Kansas City, Kansas. The wines maker/ proprietor greeted us. It was in fact through her, I first found out about Kansas and Missouri’s storied wine past. Rowe Ridge is a small vineyard with exceptionally friendly service. Tastings are $6 for 8 tastings and you keep the glass. The grapes are all French/ American hybrids or American grapes (yes including the Norton). Of all the tasting which included St Julian, Norton, Traminette, Sevyal., The Norton is was favourite. Traminette is a sweet wine but for those who don’t like sweet wines, Traminette may still be a good option as it is not cloyingly sweet but bright and round in mouth feel with honey and citrus flavours. Rowe Ridge has immense pride in their wines and work with the other wineries to promote Kansas wine. A quick tour of the vineyard (complete with a grape taste) we were on our way for BBQ but I wanted more of the wine. http://www.roweridge.com/
So the next day, @benton8tor and I started our touring with a tasting at the Amigoni Winery in Kansas City. This tasting room is located in the old Drover newspaper office of the stockyard district of West Bottoms (since gone). The vineyards themselves are located an hour east of Kansas City. If you could only go one place in Kansas City, go here. @benton8tor would say Boulevard Brewery and although amazing he is wrong! For one thing you can get Boulevard beer tasting along with other craft brews at the winery. And most importantly the wine is amazing. Using grapes such as Viognier, Cinsault, and Petit Verdou to name a few, the wines are interesting, complex and fascinating. They are remarkably well balanced. Tasting are $6 for 5. The Viognier was my favourite of the whites. Bright with citrus, it also had butter, toast like undertones. The Urban Bianco was also an easy drinking refreshing wine. Of the reds, the Urban Cepages was fascinating. Considered an almost red, the wine is peppery, vibrant and balanced. The Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious but the Cinsault grabbed my attention with its balanced yet bright bold flavours. However, I opted to do an additional tasting for $1. The Urban Drover a blend was awesome. Balanced, dry, bright and vibrant with complex flavours, I bought 2 bottles. I even got to taste the Drover Telegraph, also a beautiful wine. The tasting room itself is stunning, with balconies, old detailing from the original building and modern finishes. The service is impeccable. A Bachlorette party was there at the same time, and we still received outstanding service, could chat about wines and the wine making process. Everyone had an amazing time.Seriously you should go. http://www.amigoni.com/
You’ll have to eat in Kansas City and that is a whole other post but I strongly recommend the Genesse Royale Bistro, literally a minutes walk from Amigoni. featuring fresh, farm to table food in a fun setting, you can’t go wrong. http://www.genesseeroyale.com Likewise the Majestic restaurant features Kansas City steaks in a cool, retro speakeasy feel with an well sourced wine list.http://majestickc.com/ Slaps gives an authentic BBQ with amazing flavours, delicious food and a beautiful patio. Go hungry and enjoy. http://www.slapsbbqkc.com/
Kansas City is a perfect place for BBQ but its also a perfect place to start your wine journey. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll taste.