Today was my wife’s 19th anniversary of coming to US, so I was looking for the appropriate wine to celebrate. I didn’t have anything from 1993. There were ’86, ’88 and ’90, but somehow opening those wines didn’t make too much sense. And then I saw a bottle of Norton. No, it was much younger than 19, but Norton is often called a True American Grape, so it should be perfect for the occasion.
So I pulled this bottle of 2005 Chrysalis Vineyards Norton Estate Bottled from Virginia (12.8% ABV), which I got during our visit to Chrysalis Vineyards about two years ago (here is the post about it). Somehow, from the moment the cork was pulled, the wine worked perfectly. It had that hint of barnyard aroma, just a hint, as much as you get from the well made Loire Cabernet Franc – a bit of explicit earthiness on the nose. On the palate, it was very restrained and balanced, quite dry – somewhat similar to Barolo, only without a bear claw grip of tannins, with some leather and again earthy notes. As the wine warmed up, it showed more fruit, some raspberries and plums, with good acidity, and it stayed very balanced until, well, the bottle was empty. In terms of rating, I will put Drinkability at 8.
I’m sure this wine will continue evolving – but this was my only bottle, so it is what it is. Oh well, at least it was a good bottle of wine, so no regrets here. Cheers!
P.S. I’m purposefully avoiding mentioning the debates, which were also an all American event today – let me only tell you that the wine was far more superior than the 5 minutes of debates I watched…
When I create a wine quiz, my goal is to strike a balance (hmmm, how strange, isn’t “balance” my favorite characteristic of a good wine?). If 10 people answered the quiz, and they all answered correctly, it probably was too easy. If out of the same 10 people nobody got it right, or even worth, there are 0 answers instead of 10, it was either too difficult or too boring. Considering this criteria, this wine quiz #14 was one of the most successful ones – on the date of this writing, 3 answers out of 7 were correct, and even incorrect answers seems not to be randomly chosen.
Anyway, the correct answer for the wine quiz #14, True American Grape, is Norton. Norton’s history goes all the way back to beginning of 19th century, when it was created as a result of hard work of Dr. Daniel Norton in Virginia (you can read the book by Todd Kliman, The Wild Wine if you want to get a full story). The grape was a staple of the winemaking in Virginia and Missouri until the Prohibition hit, and now it is slowly trying to restore to its old glory. I had an encounter with Norton wines at Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia about two years ago (you can read my blog post here), and the wines were very good.
That’s all I have for now, folks. Until the next wine quiz coming out on Saturday – cheers!