The waiting is over, and the suspense is gone – 2012, the hottest and driest summer on record produced a grape unexcelled in depth structure and taste that would become our new Flagship – the 2012 “Biker Bar” Norton.
Why this wine is head and shoulders above the rest was abundantly clear at our Norton Release Dinner on June 27. Served up with a classic summer meal of Bar-B-Q Brisket, fresh made salad with vinaigrette coleslaw, potato salad, and dessert of raspberry-chocolate cake, the qualities of this new release of Norton paired perfectly with the tangy bar-b-q.
Linda stepped up with an usual summer salad of greens interspersed with onions, strawberries, blueberries & pecans topped off with a vinaigrette dressing. As promised the perfectly cooked brisket was offered with your choice of a Kansas City sweet sauce or a Cajun hot sauce.
Joyce DeNeal, Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator, presented an interesting program on “Norton in America” that detailed the checkered history of the Norton vine since its discovery by Dr. Norbert Norton in Virginia in the early 1800s. A highlight of the evening was the Riedel Norton Tasting using Riedel’s specially designed crystal stemware made specifically for Norton wine. To the delight of each one attending the dinner took home their own Reidel Norton glass.
We have always known that the grapes like to be stressed, and that a season that presents a nominal stress almost always produces a better crop. We noticed when these grapes came into the crusher on harvest day, even before they went to the fermentation tank they produced a richer, more pungent juice with a far more prevalent bouquet than on normal years. The heat of the summer and the dryness of the earth stressed the vines just enough to make them work harder at making an outstanding juice, and ultimately, an outstanding wine. Of course, no one could be sure three years ago, but we suspected that something special was coming. Patience!
Indeed, we were not disappointed. After two and a half years in Oak we were ready to bottle. Of course we had sampled the wine in the barrels and knew that something special was coming, but none of us could have planned a better result. Dark, rich wine with hints of blackberries, cherry, & leather jumped to our noses. The mouth feel was full with overtones of Oak and Cedar. The star of the June 27 dinner was the wine!
The evening closed with a special treat – a dessert of raspberry chocolate cake served with an glass of unreleased Yellow Farmhouse “Round Midnight” Blackberry Chambourcin dessert wine. This limited batch wine was a highlight of the evening. This six year old dessert wine paired especially well with the raspberry chocolate cake with chocolate gnache.
It was an evening that many will not soon forget.