The Norton Grape
Tasted a great one last night, the 2009 Illinois Cellars. I wanted to
contact the vintners to congratulate them on this exquisite wine. No
dice. The email kept bouncing back. Here's what we had to say . . .
Simply must say it--your 2009 Illinois Cellars Norton has managed to
do what no other Norton we've tasted to date has been able to do: it
has informed, educated, and finally initiated my palate into the
subtle secret of what the Norton grape really can be when vinted in
the best way.
Along with that comes an appreciation for this grape above all the
varieties of vinifera grown away from their European home in
California. For example, I have yet to taste a Pinot Noir grown in the
U.S. that even vaguely resembles the taste of what comes from
And here's an interesting thing: last night, my wife expressed the
opinion that your Norton reminds her of that unmistakably distinctive
Côte d'Or taste. So far as I've looked into the mystery behind the
origin of the Norton variety, I've read that Vitus aestivalis is
thought to be a hybrid created from a domestic mid-American grape such
as we have growing all about our Missouri home here, and some variety
of Vitis vinifera. Maybe my Glenda is right to have fixed on Pinot
Noir. It's a notably cold tolerant vine, seeing it is grown to great
success so far north as the Rheingau and Pfalz regions of Germany.
Interesting article in the NY Times on the "spätburgunder" . . .
Anyway! Thank you so much for this great, great wine!
Mr. & Mrs. J.P. McDonald
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