Horton Norton 2011

This is the second of the two selections I brought back from the Vintage Virginia 2013 wine festival.  The brief sample I got at the Horton booth put this wine on my “buy” list.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that it was a varietal I’d never tasted.  I enjoy new wine experiences.  And then there was the name.  The name of the wine made me immediately think of Dr. Seuss.  You know … Horton Hears a Who.  But in this case, Horton Makes a Norton.  OK!  I’ll admit that I have a warped imagination and sense of humor.

Horton Vineyards is a winemaker in Gordonsville, VA.  Given that the Norton grape varietal – named for it’s creator Dr. Daniel Norton – was first grown in Virginia, this seems like a natural fit.  From it’s origins in the Richmond area, Norton cultivation has spread to the Mid-Atlantic States and the Midwest.  Evidently, the Missouri wine industry relies heavily on the Norton.  This selection, however, is from it’s home turf.

Winemaker:  Horton Vineyards
Varietal:  Norton
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Monticello, Virginia AVA
Price:  $15.00

Notes:  Not only do I like tasting varietals that are new to me, but I also like pleasant surprises.  This wine, my friends, was truly a pleasant surprise.  In the glass the Norton Horton made was a deep purple.  On the nose I smelled tangy berries, earth, spice and violets.  It was medium-bodied with good acidity and dry at 13% alcohol.  The flavors for me were dark sweet berries at the fore (blackberry, black currant), a hint of pepper, notes of black plum and hints of fruit bread as well.  Tannins were soft but present.  On the finish I found a green, leafy note and cranberry.  While I’m sure the wine could pair well with food, this is the kind of vino I like to just sip on it’s own because as it runs the palate you get an enjoyable variety of flavor experiences.  It’s also a well balanced red in my opinion.  The Norton wines were called Virginia Claret in the 1800’s, and there is something of the more restrained European tradition in this selection.  I enjoyed it and was glad to note recently that it is available at my local Safeway!

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

2 thoughts on “Horton Norton 2011

  1. With the explosion of interest in the Norton grape (278 Norton wineries in 25 states to date), Todd Kliman’s book is a welcomed edition to this American wine production story….

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