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2011 Bodega Norton Privada 

Mendoza, Argentina

Retail $19-$21

British engineer Sir Edmund J.P. Norton founded Bodega Norton in 1895 and planted vines imported from France. The winery, built in 1919, lies in the sub-region of Lujan de Cuyo on the banks of the Mendoza River. Lujan de Cuyo's viticultural area backs up to the Andes mountains at altitudes averaging 3,300 feet above sea level. Intense daytime sunlight is offset by the Andes' cooling, evening winds, slowing overnight ripening and lengthening the growing season. The bodega's vineyards range in age from 50 to 80 years old. Norton's flagship wine, 2011 Privada, is a blend of 40 percent malbec and 30 percent each cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Hand-harvested grapes are cold macerated for five days. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts occurs over the next seven days, followed by 25 to 30 days of all-natural malolactic fermentation. The wine spends 16 months in new French oak barrels and ages another 12 months in the bottle. In the glass, it offers intense aromas of wild berries, earth notes, a hint of tobacco and toasty oak. On the palate, taste complex flavors of cassis, currants, blackberry, espresso and mocha with firm tannins and good acidity. Decant 40 minutes before serving. Drink it with rare steak, duck confit, barbecued spareribs and mature cheeses. Buy it at: Costco and Rouses in Gretna.

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