Röbller Vineyard in New Haven will unveil its Franklin County commemorative bicentennial wine — the 1818 Franklin County Reserve — at the Franklin County Bicentennial opening ceremony, to be held at East Central College this Saturday, March 9, at 2 p.m.
Röbller’s 1818 Franklin County Reserve is the result of a three-year project by winemaker Jerry Mueller. Mueller, a member of the Franklin County Bicentennial committee, undertook the creation of the special vintage to honor the county’s heritage.
As the oldest vineyard growing Norton in Franklin County, estate-producer Röbller Vineyard’s own land grant and history match closely with Franklin County’s historical time line, creating a special tie for the winery to the project.
According to Mueller, the Norton was the only choice for the bicentennial wine, a fitting tribute to honor the friendship between Thomas Jefferson, who helped develop Norton in the New World, and Benjamin Franklin, the county’s namesake.
Missouri’s state grape and the only true native wine-grape of the New World has been in existence as long as Franklin County.
“It’s not often you get a chance to create a bicentennial wine,” said Mueller. “The whole approach has been to create an outcome that is commensurate with the significance of the county’s bicentennial, which meant a lot of extra care — and it meant doing things we had never done before.”
Röbller’s Norton vines have been growing for more than 25 years. Mueller said that vine maturity and Röbller’s dry farming process created the foundation for the Norton’s quality and consistency.
He chose extended barreling time for the 1818 Franklin County Reserve to achieve a premium level of complexity and balance.
The finished wine was initially refined for two years in neutral Missouri white and chinquapin oak barrels, with an additional year in new heavy toast chinquapin barrels.
Mueller intentionally limited barreling to oak that is indigenous to Missouri, selecting barrels from McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba, Mo., in keeping with the farm-to-table philosophy that “what grows together goes together.”
“The 1818 Franklin County Reserve is a tribute to the determination, ingenuity and creativity through which our county was founded and through which a tremendous number of Franklin County businesses thrive,” he said. “Röbller is privileged to be located in the heart of the county, the ideal setting to create this commemorative wine — which is our best expression of the county’s history and heritage, the future, and the character of the land.”
After the unveiling, the 1818 Franklin County Reserve will be available at Röbller Vineyard, located at 274 Röbller Vineyard Road, New Haven.
Franklin County will continue to commemorate its bicentennial with a series of special events and projects now through December 2019.