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October is Virginia Wine Month and the week of October 6th is a quasi-Regional Wine Week at RegionalWineWeek.com.

There is likely no grape more qualified to celebrate Virginia Wine Month and Regional Wine Week than the Norton grape.  Norton, also known as Cynthiana, is the oldest native North American varietal in commercial cultivation today which first became commercially available around 1830.  The Norton grape is attributed to Dr. Daniel Norborne Norton from Richmond, VA.  Horton Cellars, located in Orange County, VA, was the first to produce Norton wine since prohibition.

To celebrate both VWM and RWW, I opened up a Horton Norton 2003 which I picked up at a wine festival for about $12.  

Horton Norton 2003

13% alcohol, synthetic cork, dark ruby color

The Horton Norton 2003 is a blend of Norton (75%), Mourvedre (13%), Syrah (6%), Tannat (4%) and Grenache (3%).  On the nose I found huge cranberry aromas – ‘real’ cranberry – the raw cranberry juice that you buy from Whole Foods or health food stores.  My personal beverage intake is limited to wine, water and real cranberry juice when I’m home.  I liked this wine quite a bit even before tasting just because of this strong cranberry component.  (Editorial Note: Tacky Alert) If this tasting were an episode of The Jerry Springer Show and he was doing a DNA test to find the baby’s daddy, raw cranberry juice would absolutely be a 100% DNA match for this wine.  The aroma profile is a perfect match.  There were also aromas of sour cherry and not-quite-ripe plum.  In the mouth, the cranberry was abundant as was Sweetart candy.  The cranberry continued on the finish – much longer finish than I would have expected from a $12 wine.  In my ‘learning-as-I-go’ opinion, I dig this wine.

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