A Mid Week Tipple

Somewhat spontaneously last night, Palex and Cristalle decided to drop by my place for some wine, work laptops in hand. I pulled out a bottle from my now-tiny wine collection, the Bodega Norton Quorum I from Mendoza, Argentina. This bottle had an interesting provenance – Sihao had lugged it back from Argentina to Chicago for me over two years ago now. When I moved back to Singapore, Jeff helped me store it for safekeeping, but he brought it over for me when he visited late last year. I didn’t want to haul it 8,000 miles back across the oceans again, so while I thought it could have kept for a while longer yet, we opened it last night.

It was delicious. 🙂 The wine still seemed quite young, with an intense deep red color. It slowly opened and softened through the night, but it was smooth, smoky, with a hint of blackcurrant at the end, and a taste of something not quite chocolately, but we couldn’t put our fingers on it precisely. It perfectly complemented the slices of chocolate cake my mum had made too.

Zhongxi joined us midway, just before midnight, bearing a bottle of Spanish cava. Together, we finished the dregs of the Quorum, then dived into the green apple notes of the Cava. What a delightful way to cap off the evening. Hehe, and especially since I didn’t have to go rouse my woozy self up for work today (Zhongxi could sleep in too since his shift doest start till noon, although my sympathies go out the other two…).

This vertical blend of three varieties of different harvests is the creation of Jorge Riccitelli, one of the greatest winemakers of the wine industry in Argentina.

Quórum I is the new premium wine by Bodega Norton. The main feature of this wine is that it comprises a vertical blend of three harvests. The blend encompasses 60% Malbec from the 2002 harvest, 22% Merlot from the 2005 harvest and 18% Petit Verdot from the 2006 harvest. According to winery staff members, each harvest grants complexity and different aspects that make this wine a perfect assemblage of the varieties, their styles and harvests.

The harvest is entirely conducted by hand, plant by plant. For deciding the right moment in which grapes have to be harvested, scientific and empirical knowledge come together. The decision is made jointly by the agronomist and the winemaker, determining the moment when the grapes have reached the exact ripening point. The grapes that comprise this blend come from Finca Agrelo, Finca Pedriel and Finca La Colina, located between 800 and 1,100 meters above sea level, in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza province.

Once they have been harvested, the clusters and grapes are hand-selected before entering the winery, in order to ensure their quality. A series of complex craft stages are conducted there, finally producing, after fermentation has occurred, the longed-for wine.

In the barrels room, the different varietals are separately aged in first and second use French and American oak barrels.

Jorge Riccitelli, its winemaker, describes Quorum in these words: “the 2002 Malbec grants a ruby color, leather aromas and softness in the palate. The 2005 Merlot unfolds a burgundy color and offers ripe black fruit and smoky aromas; in the mouth, it is elegant and subtle. The Petit Verdot has an intense violet color, red fruit and vanilla aromas and good structure and long finish in the mouth. The result of this blend is a full wine, balanced in elegance and structure.”

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