Dear Mary and Terry,
Below is a review of your fine wines and establishment I posted to the website Catchwine.com. I hope the review let’s you and everyone else who reads it know how much we enjoyed our time with you on August 13th this year. We will be back. If you care to use any of this on your testimonials page, feel free to do so.
“This tasting room is located in the very charming village of Westphalia. And the tasting room itself is in a wonderful old hotel with the restaurant, party rooms and gift shop on the main level. Upstairs is the large tasting room and a sports room to boot. Wrapped around half of one side and all of the back of the building is a multi-level deck with additional seating. It is a very interesting building right from curb appeal and all the way through. There is a very cozy bar / restaurant next door, too. Next door be sure to try a Stag Beer. Mary Neuner, co-owner and wife of Terry, who apparently focuses on the restaurant portion of the enterprise, welcomed us on arrival and immediately made us feel right at home. Terry, co-owner, husband of Mary and winemaker, was very knowledgeable and a warm, friendly host.
We really liked their dry reds. I liked the 2006 Norton Reserve that was offered in the tasting room best. It was smooth, had a distinctive Norton nose and yet had also a hint of Brandy-like undertones present. Coming in at a very close second for me was the Cabernet Franc. It was smooth with a bit of spice from the first sip and had a very nice warm, flush, comfort inducing feel to it. Coming in at #3 was Westphalia’s blend of Norton and Cabernet Franc which Terry has named Prodigal Son. It was very nice again and really has its own signature that is similar yet different from the two wines that make this blend. My wife liked Prodigal Son the best. She was very smitten by it. She couldn’t stop raving about it. Next for her was the Cabernet Franc and the Norton. The difference between the three red wines is very small. We both gave these three reds four stars out of five which means we would go out of our way to get these wines again. We give the entire operation and the town of Westphalia four stars as well. By the time we had what seemed like a quick tour, enjoyable tastings and chat with Terry and dinner, we we’re very surprised to learn that 3 ½ hours had passed.
When it came to time purchase our wines at the end of our stay, Terry told us he was selling only the 2008 Norton Reserve and not the 2006 which we had tasted. I was a little apprehensive about this since I liked the 2006 so much. WOW! A couple days later we opened up a 2008 Norton Reserve in a relaxed setting, gave it just a little time to breathe and this Norton was fabulous. It was all the 2006 was and more. The 2008 had even deeper hints of what I would describe as pipe tobacco, mocha, nut, vanilla and raspberry or some type of berry anyway. It was so layered and complex and yet so smooth. It warrants the first five star rating I have ever given to a red. A five star rating means that I have to have this wine as a part of my life. On the Norton Wine Travelers’ recommendation, we drove out of our way to visit this winery. Based on these wines and really our total experience, we will drive out of our way to visit Westphalia again whenever possible.
As a final aside, for those of you who are Norton enthusiasts, Terry shared that Jenni McCleod, owner of Chrysalis Winery in Virginia, had visited Westphalia a week before us. Those of you who have read Todd Kliman’s enthralling book “The Wild Vine”, which is about the Norton grape and the varied cast of characters along the way, know the story has many interesting Virginia – Missouri connections. What Kliman’s book didn’t tell us is that Jenny is originally from Westphalia, Missouri. Jenny herself is yet another one of these connections.”
Thank you for being a highlight of our recent vacation. Really a highlight of 15 years of visiting wineries.
Guy and Ernene Mockelman