2015 Bodega Norton Privada Proprietary Red Blend

Year: 2015
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 91
Vinous Media: 91+
James Suckling: 95
Wine Enthusiast: 92
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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"A rich chocolaty aroma leads to deeply spiced flavors of dark plum, kirsch and mocha. Creamy midpalate, with a finish that is filled with notes of cocoa powder and raspberry. Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2022. 15,000 cases imported.–KM " (WS)

"There is a slight name change in the Privada Proprietary Red Wine, which is now the 2015 Privada Family Blend, even though it's the same blend of 40% Malbec and 30% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from their vineyards in Luján de Cuyo. It's a cool vintage that fermented in concrete vats and matured for one year in French oak barrels, one-third new. Expressive and aromatic, with notes of herbs, berries and flowers, it’s balsamic, spicy, very balanced and more about harmony than power or concentration. It's elegant and accessible, very tasty. 250,000 bottles produced.

Norton has five vineyards and around 180 growers that supply grapes. Under the guidance of technical director David Bonomi, they are looking at the soils of the different vineyards in an attempt to separate them for different ranges of wines, and they are also using smaller fermentation vessels for the different profiles of vineyards and wines. Other than that, they have some 11,000 bottles of old vintages, going back to the 1940s, which is unique in Argentina, like a living memory of the wines from the past.

When it comes to the current wines, they are working to produce wines with less oak and better freshness, in search of the wine from the specific places rather than blends from different wines. This started with the whites in 2015 and the reds in 2016. As I've seen in many other wineries, they have a tendency to use more grapes from the Valle de Uco in the more expensive ranges. More changes and wines will come, as I even previewed their first Malbec from Gualtallary from the 2017 vintage." (WA)

"(14% alcohol; 3.53 pH; aged in new and second-use French oak for 12 months): Bright full ruby. Very dark, primary, slightly reduced aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice and herbs. Concentrated, dense and ripe but not heavy, with brooding flavors of blackberry and dark chocolate dominating. Quite bound-up in the early going and seemingly more backward than the 2014 bottling at the same stage. Finishes adamantly dry, with serious chocolatey tannins, sound acidity and very good length."(VM)

"A very intense nose of blackberries, mulberries, violet extract, charcuterie, Indian spices and really flamboyant licorice. Full body, lots of juicy, grainy tannins, tangy acidity, tons of dark plum fruit and a long, chewy finish. With a little less wood and more polish, this would have scored even higher. A blend of malbec, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Drink in 2022." (JS)

"Ripe blackberry and black cherry aromas are a touch candied, with a mulchy hint of tree bark lending earthiness. The palate on this Bordeaux blend is full and lush, with a beam of tartaric acidity. Blackberry and cassis flavors weigh in by the ton, while this is toasty and coffee-flavored on a calm, bulky finish. Drink through 2024." (WE)

Winery Notes:
Privada was one of Norton’s first high-end wines. The wine’s name is inscribed on each bottle by Gernot Langes-Swarovski’s own hand, and it was originally reserved for family and close friends. With ample raspberry, fig bread, and mocha, this wine has a long, intensely complex finish and rich concentration.