My column in the Trib last night talks up Norton. 600 words isn’t much to dive into the truly remarkable history of this grape and review six bottles, but I did what I could. The Wild Vine is a great read for those interested in the full Norton story. As for thoughts on particular bottlings, I’d be interested in hearing other favorites.
- 2004 Hermannhof Norton, $20. A textbook example of Nortons’ promise, this wine offers grass and blackberry on the nose and looks like a deep cabernet sauvignon but ends that flirtation with the first sip. Its Norton: grassy, wild-tasting and distinctive. One of my favorites.
- 2005 St. James Norton, $12. Balanced acidity and fruit but still sharply grassy and spiced. Hints of a brassy version of Cotes du Rhone. A wine of real distinction.
- 2006 Stone Hill Norton, $19. Mellow and familiar on the nose, not unlike a cabernet sauvignon. While still clearly Norton, this is more laid-back and refined. Like a Norton gateway drug for cabernet fans.
- 2006 Stone Hill Cross J Norton, $25. Dark purple in the glass, with blackberries and a refined wildness on the nose. I get some spice, subdued green flavor.
- 2007 Les Bourgeois Premium Claret (Norton). Soft, supple with some gentle spice on the finish. 2007 was a tough year for grapes in Missouri, so this is an impressive effort from the folks in Rocheport.
- 2008 Westphalia Norton Reserve, $18. Soft, mellow with lots of fruit. Some spice on the back end. A nice wine.