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A Paradise Pair (Almost)

A few beautiful weekends ago, Sam and I used our Living Social coupon for a wine tasting at Paradise Springs winery in Virginia. I would love to walk you through the verdant estate and describe each wine, but I don’t have great notes. It’s a bit rude to write down everything your hostess says as she serves you the fine wines. Instead, I bought two bottles and I will feature each of them here with a pairing. You should visit the winery though, it is wonderful. There was a family having a party for a one yr-old there…and that family is legend to me now.


I also did a lousy job taking photos of the candy and the bottle. I have an excuse, but you’re not interested in that. You are sick of my excuses and complaints. I don’t blame you.

The Candy: Riesen (terrible stock image since I bought the bagged ones)


Riesen (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The Wine: Paradise Springs, Norton 2011. There’s no good image, so here is some wine with our cheese plate…


The Dream:

You may not know about Norton…I didn’t. Here’s a good short description from the Paradise Springs website:

“The Real American Grape® was first cultivated in Richmond, VA in 1830. Having the highest concentration of Antioxidants in any red grape, Norton is “the healthiest wine you can drink”! This distincly dark-colored wine has jammy black fruit flavors such as blackberry & plum and finishes with notes of baking spices.”

SO American right? Anyway, they cultivated Norton for a long and they neglected it but it made a comeback baby. I find it pretty interesting, so you should read up more in this Wiki article.

Riesen is a chewy, chocolatey affair and Norton is sharp and dry. Its tart flavor is reminiscent of the bitter skin of a green apple, which I imagine is caused by the baking spices. Could this distinct wine cut through the rich Riesen chocolate and leave the palate refreshed?

The Reality:



I was wrong. The sweet Riesen makes the dynamic wine bitter and unpleasant. I am not a huge fan and wouldn’t “ship” this pair. I thought Riesens had more of a dark chocolate flavor, but they are definitely way too sweet. I think a more bitter chocolate could be a good match here since anything sweet is just going to emphasize the bitterness of the wine. Perhaps a hint of coffee could be beneficial.

I guess we have a rematch.

Take away: Please, please try Norton when you have a chance! It might be a bit pricey, but it is a unique grape that deserves to dance upon your tongue…was that creepy to say?

About lilliebette

Wine lover, candy aficionado, aspiring foodie

One response »

  1. Pingback: Norton Hears a Licorice | Uncorked, Unwrapped

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