Monday, September 03, 2012

Washington Post: Recommendations for Norton wines from Virginia

Recommendations for Norton wines from Virginia
Published: August 27
Washington Post

Chrysalis Vineyards Norton Locksley Reserve 2009
★ Virginia, $35
Locksley Reserve is Chrysalis’s — and Virginia’s — most serious Norton. The 2009 is young and lively, like an LP played at 45 rpm. If I’m showing my age there, the 2005 Locksley isn’t: It is still quite young and “challenging,” as McCloud described it. The 2000 Locksley (her first) was sophisticated and lively, showing a glimpse of Norton’s potential as it ages.

Chrysalis Vinyards 23876 Champe Ford Rd., Middleburg; 540-687-8222;

Horton Vineyards Norton 2010
★ Virginia, $15
Horton makes Virginia’s best-known and easiest-to-find Norton, at about 3,000 cases a year. Heny achieves a distinctive style, with a hint of earthiness that gives a traditional Bordeaux character. Although Horton’s wines from the late 1990s and early 2000s were marred by poor synthetic corks, the 2007, 1996 and 1993 were showing quite well.

Horton Vineyards 6399 Spotswood Trail; Gordonsville, Va.; 540-832-7440; Available at some Total Wine & More locations.

Cooper Vineyards Norton Reserve 2010
★Virginia, $23
The 2009 and 2010 Cooper Nortons were very good, showing maturity as the vines age and the winemaking achieves a consistent style. Winemaker Graham Bell has extensive experience with Norton, having worked at Horton during that winery’s early years with the grape.

Cooper Vineyards 13372 Shannon Hill Rd., Louisa, Va.; 540-894-5474;

Chrysalis Vineyards Norton Estate Bottled 2011
★1/2 Virginia, $17
This wine shows Norton’s fruitiness and exuberance but manages to keep them both in check. Stylish.

Chrysalis Vineyards Norton Barrel Select 2011
★1/2 Virginia, $29
The carbonic maceration softens the tannins and gives the impression of a plusher, more accessible wine suitable for early drinking. Dr Pepper fans, take note.

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