Norton Privada is probably the best known of Norton’s wines, it is a fantastic blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from 50 to 80 year old vines. The Norton Privada range was originally reserved for the Swarovski family’s private cellar to enjoy among their friends.
Bodega Norton is one of the longest established wineries in Argentina. It was founded in 1895 by British engineer named Edmund James Palmer Norton, who had come to work on the the railway joining Chile and Mendoza, when he planted vines (imported from France) in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. He built built what is the current winery in 1919. The estate remained in the same family until it was bought, in 1988, by Austrian businessman Gernot Langes-Swarovski (of crystal fame). During the 1990s, under the supervision of Gernot’s son, Michael Halstrick, the estate underwent a period of significant investments, modernization and growth with expansion into export markets. Wine Spectator named Bodega Norton as one of the top 20 wineries in the world in 2006 and many awards have followed since.
Norton have five distinct vineyards in Mendoza. The grapes for Norton Privada come from the Finca La Colonia vineyard, a property located in the heart of Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo, which was acquired in 1997. There are some 705 hectares of vineyards located at an altitude of between 850 and 1100 metres above sea level. The altitude moderates the temperature, causing an extended ripening season, and also exposes the vines to more ultraviolet light, which encourages the development of colour and tannin in red grapes. As mentioned above, the vines are aged between 50 and 90 years old. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo berry selection. There is a period of cold maceration for 5 days followed by alcoholic fermentation and natural malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels and 12 months in bottle prior to release. The blend is usually 40% Malbec, 30% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winemaker is Jorge Riccitelli, one of Argentina’s most highly respected. He was the first Argentinian winemaker to win Wine Enthusiast’s Winemaker of the Year, doing so in 2012.