Dennis Concoction 1: 625 ml of Cabernet Franc & 125 ml Norton 1990’s


Finding this bottle in Dad’s cellar brought back so many different memories. As far back as I can remember my father made wine in the basement, we had carboys, trash cans for open fermentors, bungs, air lock bubblers, a canoe oar for punch downs, a hand corker and a crusher, the family was the destemmer. Yes, my father actually made us pick the grapes individually off the stems before it was crushed.

He saved previous wine bottles and reused them for his own concoctions. A practice he continued in the early days of Horton Vineyards.

This blend was 625 ml of Cabernet Franc and 125 ml Norton – What? Huh? In his usual maverick style Dad put a medium bodied, peppery, Bordeaux wine with inky, earthy, bold American Norton. I wondered whether he was trying to beef up the Cabernet Franc or tame down the Norton or just see if they played well together.

Over 20 years later here goes nothing…. The first aromas are of musty, wet wood but as I aerate the wine I am stunned by the intense smoke and pepper smells that fill the glass. It was reminiscent of a smoke house or black pepper smoked bacon. I keep swirling/aerating yet the smell continued – how cool. The color was slightly oxidized. This wine started with intense cherries then it transitioned to vanilla and chard marshmallows with a mild finish. Given the wine’s maturity it was hard to distinguish what brought which flavor to the wine. However after 20 years this Marks-A-Lot-Marker labeled wine had a lot to say – even the oddest pairs can make a lasting couple.

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