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In a nutshell: A rich and powerful Argentinian blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The lowdown: Privada has long been one of Bodega Norton's most well known wines and, rather than just being a straight Malbec it's a blend with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with the grapes coming from old vines between 50 and 80 years of age. It's aged for 16 months in French oak barrels which gives a smooth, velvety character that balances the full body very well. It has rich aromas of dark berry fruits and a great concentration of ripe fruit flavours with a touch of smoke and coffee. Nicely complex with a good structure and grippy tannins that lead to the lengthy finish.
When to drink: Rich, smooth and elegant it's just great alongside robust barbecued meats like a rib-eye steak.
The story of Bodega Norton stretches back to the end of the nineteenth century when the estate was founded by a British engineer Edmund Norton who'd arrived in the area to help build a railway across the Andes. He was so taken by the Mendoza area that he stayed and set up his own vineyard in Luján de Cuyo with vines imported from France.
The recent history of the business starts in 1989 when the estate was purchased by Austrian businessman Gernot Langes-Swarovski who made a major investment in the estate and alongside his son Michael Halstrick, the current CEO, set about transforming it into the world renowned winery that it is today.
The winemaking team is headed up by David Bonomi who started out at Norton in 2002 before broadening out his experience at other notable wineries in Mendoza before returning in 2014 as the company's chief winemaker. His skill in making the best of the region's terroir and matching it to the potential of Malbec and the other main grape varieties of the area has earned him international recognition in the shape of awards from the likes of Decanter Magazine and others and he's, without doubt, one of Mendoza's rising stars.