In 1885, the Buenos Aires to Mendoza railway opened, cementing the significance of this emerging wine-growing region high in the Andean foothills. Ten years later, Edmund Norton planted the first vines in Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo district. At 900-1100 metres, the altitude moderates the temperature, causing an extended ripening season, and also exposes the vines to more ultraviolet light, which encourages the development of colour and tannin in the blackskinned varieties. The result is whites packed with vibrant flavour and good natural acidity, and well-structured, foodfriendly reds.
The range is constructed principally according to vine age. Finca La Colonia is sourced from young vines, with no oak to obscure their immediate, accessible fruit. Vineyards over fifteen years old are considered for Barrel Select; their more structured juice is suitable for aging fifty per cent in wood. Past their thirtieth birthday, plantings can make the grade for Reserva, which is entirely matured in French barrels and offers extra depth and complexity. Privada used to be the family’s private reserve, and is now Norton’s signature wine, as well as one of Argentina’s best-respected names, with fifty to eighty year old vines providing great concentration. Perdriel is the recent flagship, from a single vineyard of old vines; with stunning richness and intensity, it proves that Edmund Norton’s hunch about Luján de Cuyo was right.