Visiting Norton with Jorge Riccitelli

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When someone is voted ‘Winemaker of the Year’ by Wine Enthusiast, it’s a big deal. When they are the first person in South America to be given the honour, it’s an even bigger deal. But meeting Jorge Riccitelli, you’d never know. A humble and always smiling man, it is clear to see why Riccitelli is one of Argentina’s most loved winemakers.

As Head Winemaker of Norton for over 20 years, Jorge Riccitelli has won over hearts with his wines in Argentina and abroad for their simple and fulfilling style and their great price points. The award as best winemaker he humbly attributes to his wines and not to himself as a personality. He describes his wines as “happy” because they enable people to enjoy them in good company, heightening the friendly atmosphere, but not demanding your total attention on the wine. For Jorge Riccitelli, wine is something to make your life better, not to complicate it.

Although that’s not to say that Norton’s wines play by all the rules… Take Quorom as an example. A wine that blends not only varieties but also vintages: Quorom 1 has 60% Malbec 2002, 22% Merlot 2005 and 18% Petit Verdot 2006. When asked about why they decided to make this wine, his simple answer is “why not?”

Jorge Riccitelli with Lote wines

Moving up the line you can taste Norton’s top wines: Lote – a single vineyard line which has some gorgeous Malbecs from three different vineyards in Mendoza; a collection of their Sparkling wines including the delightful champenoise method ‘Cosecha Especial’; and Gernot Langes. Named after the owner, Gernot Langes-Swarovski, their icon blend is a stunning mix of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Wait, Swarovski did you say? “Yes,” Jorge’s eye sparkles, “all the women recognize that name…” And as Jorge himself continues to makes gems in the bottle, his name too is bringing a sparkle to many a wine drinker’s eye.

Amanda Barnes

Amanda Barnes

Amanda Barnes is a British journalist who has been living in the Southern Hemisphere for the last six years, has tried over 500 Malbecs, eaten over 600 Chilean oysters and still has a functioning liver and kidneys (as far as she knows).
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