My wife and I recently found ourselves at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for a family wedding. We had several hours to kill in between events so we thought we would take a busman’s holiday and check out a local winery. As many of you may know, Missouri was once known for its wines and has a thriving collection of wineries across the state.
Seven Springs Winery was conveniently located near our hotel so we decided to make the short drive and check it out. Finding the winery was nothing like touring the wineries of Long Island. The winery is located looking out over a beautify valley — but finding it required going on some back roads that, shall we say, could have been marked a little better. But the back roads were well worth the view.
Lake of the Ozarks is really a flooded river valley created by the Army Corp of Engineers many, many years ago. The lake is hundreds of feet deep in spots and still has hills the rise several hundred feet above water level. Seven Springs is located on one of the hills and looks down on a beautify valley.
We decided to do a tasting before buying a bottle to drink on the patio. We tried four wines: the Dry Vignoles, the Chardonel, the Norton and the Syrah. We didn’t take notes but found three of the four wines surprisingly good. The Norton grape is widely used in Missouri and makes a good, dry red wine. The Chardonel and Dry Vignoles are both dry whites, though the Chardonel was a little sweet for our taste.
We bought a bottle of the Dry Vignoles — it’s citrus notes and acid reminded us of a sauvignon blanc. Sitting at a table on the deck we listened to a duo playing light-rock hits from the past along with families, couples and groups of friends. The wine was good, not great. But the experience was wonderful. If we had been sitting on a porch in Italy we would have been thrilled to have found a simple local wine that drank wonderfully. It made us realize that we need to try harder to support local wineries all around the country; there are little gems to be found wherever you go.