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2012 Norton from the Horton Vineyards

Norton by Horton Wine

2012 Norton from the Horton Vineyards — Reviewed by Steve Daknis

  • Red Wine
  • 13.49% Alcohol/Vol.
  • Price: $15.00
  • Made in: Virginia, USA
  • By: Horton Winery
  • best cheap red wine

Rich aromas of plum & cherries with a long spicy finish.

My recommendation:  Let this wine air out for a while before serving and drink it with a hearty meal.

Today’s wine comes from Virginia – 2012 Norton from the Horton Vineyards.  Yes, that’s Horton Norton – it’s a rhyme every time.   The Horton Winery has been a favorite of mine since I first started drinking wine in earnest in the late 90s.  A friend of mine often volunteered for Horton at various wine festivals in Virginia and he encouraged me to give their wines a serious look.  In my early days, I was a white-wine-only drinker and Horton’s Viognier became my first favorite wine.  I think I liked it because I thought I sounded cool asking for Viognier at fine restaurants and acting put-off when they didn’t carry it.  But that’s a discussion for a different blog entry.  Suffice it say – I am sentimentally attached to Horton.

Horton’s website offers the 2012 Norton for sale at $15 a bottle – not quite dirt cheap but inexpensive enough to give it a try.   I think I bought this particular bottle at the winery – but I’ve seen it for sale in a lot of places in Northern Virginia.  Horton’s online price sheet shows the following description:  “Norton (Native Virginia Dry Red).    Rich aromas of plum & cherries with a long spicy finish.  Horton was first in Virginia to make Norton since Prohibition.  ”I’ve never been good at identifying “aromas of plum & cherries” or any other particular scents so I’ll take Horton’s word for it.   Tonight’s Norton smelled very tannic in the glass – even after decanting it for a couple of hours.  My first taste confirmed the smell and I thought I had made a mistake in opening a wine this young.  I let it sit in the glass while I made tonight’s dinner – Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna.    An hour or so later, after my first bite of lasagna, I took another sip and it seemed liked the tannins were gone and the wine tasted very smooth.  Then I watch my wife take her first sip and I saw her make “that face” – which told me she wasn’t going to enjoy this wine at all.  It was still way too tannic for her. However, as our meal progressed, I continued to sip and enjoy this wine – it reminded me of my favorite Bordeaux wines – full bodied and delicious.  And then Wendy asked me to refill her glass!

Either the lasagna or the time in the glass had smoothed this wine out and we were both really taken with it.   We both commented that we’ll enjoy this wine again. My recommendation:  Let this wine air out for a while before serving and drink it with a hearty meal. Horton’s Winery suggests this is a “Pizza Wine”.  I prefer beer with my pizza so let’s call Horton Norton a Lasagna Wine.  Either the cheese or the sauce combined with the young tannins in the wine to make it delicious.  Or maybe it was the zucchini.  Either way – well worth the $15 price.

Until next time, drink more wine, and as always, Go Duke!

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