Missouri wines are made mostly of French-American hybrids – crosses between European Vitis vinifera grapevines and native American grapevines. Outside of the East Coast and the Midwest, grapes such as Chardonel and Traminette are rarely used for wine production, and therefore don’t have the same name recognition as popular Vitis vinifera varieties such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. In the Midwest, such hybrid grapes are being made into quality wines thanks to dedicated winemakers, so it’s time to get to know these grapes. –Natalie Gallagher
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Nine judges from across the U.S. blind-taste local wines to name the best of the best.