Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Norton Tasting

Norton is owned by the Austrian Swarovski family of crystals fame. A family member is involved in the mnagement of this very large 24 million bottle winery. I like this winery, because it also produces very small volume high end wines. I  was taken through the range by winemaker David Bonomi. 
New modern concrete tanks

The first taste was a real surprise: a 2014 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Champagne. It showed very fine bubbles.This fresh Champagne was very delicate, with an undertone of smooth yeast (93 points).

The white wines, Gruner Veltliner (of course), Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay were less impressive, but they now make of 35-40% of production.

The 2017 Malbec Reserve, the standard bearer,  has the typical black fruit character of the Uco Valley, and the sweetness of Lujan de Cuyo. This medium bodied wine offers great value for money (90 points).

New are the Altura Cabernet Franc and Malbec wines from the Uco Valley. 4000 cases are made of these. I found them very attractive for their freshness, attractive medium body fruit profiles, and balance, in particular the Malbec (92 points).

The 2016 Privada is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, and then there was a Malbec blend from 5 vineyards - both wines quite well rounded with some sweetness (91 points).

The top wines were the 2017 Lote Negro, a 60/40 Malbec Cabernet Franc blend, matured in concrete vats and old wood. It showed fruit intensity, but was gentle and smooth (94 points). And the 2015 Gernot Langes (named after a Swarovski family member). This again is a Malbec dominated blend (94 points). These are traditional best of barrel wines, but made with drinkability in mind.

I was then given the opporunity to taste the first ever Argentinian Malbec which had Malbec on the label,  1974. What a treat this was! The wine had matured perfectly. The colour was orange on the rim. It translated into some orange peel on the palate, next to the black cherry fruit. The wine was very elegant with a beauiful texture , still balanced and a silky finish (96 points).

This put to rest any discussion if Malbec can age.       

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