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Norton Clasico 2005

Alright, I'm finished with beer...for now. I just realized the idiocy of being one of the world's great wine producing countries and drinking beer all the time. No, it is time for a fundamental shift back toward the fruit of the vine...

Rather than completely shock you and start writing about expensive wine, however, I've chosen this $9 peso (>$3 U.S.) bottle from Bodega Norton, one of the upper-tier Argentine bodegas. Like I always say, the true measure of a bodega is not the way their top quality wine tastes, but rather how their bottom shelf stuff tastes. Actually, that's the first time I've ever said that, but I like the sound of it.

Anyway, the name of this particular Norton wine is "Clasico" and it is referred to simply as vino tinto, or red wine. That basically means (as near as I can tell) that there is not enough of any one grape in it, like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, to classify it as such. It doesn't even classify as a blend, or a bi-varietal.

For $9 pesos per bottle, there is enough going on in this wine to merit my repeat business. Its aroma leaves a lot to be desired; there isn't much of one. However, once you get past its clear, thin opening, this wine actually has a lot of body, and leaves a nice dry finish on the back of the palette. Again, remembering that this is $9 peso wine, there are good and fairly-deep berry flavors, and even after a full day of being open the wine did not get that "jammy" taste that inexpensive wine gets.

Great as a table wine. Unfortunately, that's just about all. In spite of its many merits, you wouldn't want to waste a good steak on it, and it doesn't have enough body to hold up to any food with serious flavor. It just mainly serves as something to keep around the house for a glass or two with whatever you're eating at that specific moment.

But, as I said, I've had several Norton wines and I have yet to be disappointed. In a pinch, and on a budget (which I am), I would go back to this one. Fundamentally, that's the best recommendation one can give, no?


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