A friend gave us this bottle years ago, then it languished in our cellar. It’s made from the Norton grape, a hybrid developed in Virginia in the early 19th century by crossing local natives with a European variety — possibly Meunier, although that science is still being done. The vine became popular in the South and Midwest for yielding inky wines with spiced flavors and soft tannins. In other words, fruity, but not necessarily age-worthy. Could it still be good?
It’s still good. Even nine years after harvest the wine feels fresh, alive with flavors of brambly fruits, fresh and dried herbs, licorice, and fennel. Its dark ruby-brick robe has only a faintly tawny rim, and its aromas are ripe with black cherry and black currant. Overall it feels like a light-hearted wine with a dark, earthy core. I’d try aging another bottle.
2010 Horton Vineyards Norton Virginia
13% abv | $18 for the current vintage