Norman Winery was started in 1971 when Art and Lei Norman were looking for a place to realize their dream of growing grapes and making wine. Art still recalls what drove him to found Norman – his memories of his father and grandfather making wine in the home when he was a child. Art, an engineer by training and practice, was working in Aerospace in Southern California when his memories of childhood got the best of him, and their search for the proper site began. They spent weekends searching out a site in the cooler coastal climates of California, before settling on their Adelaida site in the as-of-yet undiscovered Westside appellation of Paso Robles. Shortly after purchasing the Winery’s 40 acres, planning for the vineyards commenced. The shallow top soils on the site are underlined by calcareous rock, providing an environment where grape vines struggle, yet the high water holding capacity of the soils provides limited moisture to the vines through the long, dry summers. The Normans also chose a very cool site, by California viticultural standards, meaning that their grapes would mature slowly, over a very long growing season. Chardonnay was chosen for a piece of the vineyard, as the site was perfect for a variety that thrives in such cool climates. However, the majority of the vineyard was reserved for reds – a daring choice that has paid off well. Our Estate Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet, and Barbera struggle to get fully ripe every year. Harvest dates are usually in late October, sometimes stretching into November. As a result, our wines are made from grapes that have an extraordinarily long growing season and time to develop very full flavor profiles. In 2000, due to our success with reds, and the availability of very high quality Chardonnay from Edna Valley, we removed our Chardonnay to plant more Cabernet, and we added a few acres of Cabernet franc to give us more options for our wine blends.
Norman Winery Chardonnay Reserve
To craft this excellent Chardonnay we started with grapes grown in the cool climate of the Edna Valley, just south of San Luis Obispo. Here, Chardonnay grapes thrive as a result of cool days and a long growing season resulting in lush fruit flavors. The juice was then slow fermented in new cooperage, and aged sur-lie for twelve months. This wine offers intense aromas of honeysuckle, peach, orange zest, licorice and cinnamon to the nose. In the mouth you’ll find floral, apple and apricot flavors, followed by a rich creamy caramel finish. Start your meal with a walnut and goat cheese salad, or perhaps a bit of foie gras. For a main course try roasted chicken, or seared Ahi or swordfish. This Chardonnay will also make a lovely accompaniment to flan or a roasted fruit dish topped with crème fraiche.
Norman Winery Zinfandel
Our Zinfandel represents everything we love about Zin. We decided to produce this Zin for those of you looking for an ultra-complex Zinfandel. To create this lovely wine, we started with our best Estate lots that were selected after 14 months of barrel aging. The wine was then placed in new barrels to age an additional six months giving it subtle oak induced flavors & aromas. We blended in 5% Petite Sirah, which rounded out the tannins and make the wine more robust. It’s loaded with blackberry and plum aromas, with spices in the background. In the mouth you’ll find lovely berry flavors wrapped around supple, mouth-filling tannins with a finish that lasts literally for several minutes. This Zin begs to be savored alone, but will also enhance a large range of foods, especially roasted meats, strong cheeses, and robust pasta dishes. As the new flagship of our Zinfandel line up, we hope you’ll be pleased with the offering.
Norman Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
This lovely Cabernet is a culmination of over 30 years experience with our estate vineyards and a decade of letting the vineyard best express itself in the bottle. When first pouring this wine, it opens up with poignant fresh raspberries and a touch of anise which give way to subdued vanilla and chocolate notes. In the mouth, you’ll find round, subtle tannins with elegant fruit flavors and a lingering finish that presents a cornucopia of flavors. Enjoy this special Cabernet Sauvignon with your favorite meal or try it the next time you serve grilled meats, robust pastas or a pork shoulder roast. You might even want to try it with a decadent chocolate desert.
Norman Winery Merlot
Our Merlot exhibits everything we’ve come to love in a Merlot. In creating this limited quantity wine (only 200 cases were produced) we used only select cooperage that displayed the flavors we desired most. When this wine is poured into a glass, the aromas of root beer, dark red fruit and a bit of mandarin overwhelm the senses. In the mouth, the flavors of cassis and plum are coupled with smooth, round tannins leading to a fresh raspberry finish that is followed by a slightly toasty vanilla note. The richness of this wine will thrill you today and will fully develop over the next 2-3 years time in the bottle. Enjoy this wine before dinner with an assortment of cheeses or bruchetta, but be sure to save a bit for a dark chocolate desert.
Norman Winery Barbera
Our Barbera is another fine representative of its Italian kin. Distinctly Californian in style, it is a full-bodied, rich wine with distinctive cranberry and cassis flavors accompanied by a smoky tobacco sensation. The traditionally acidic finish of this wine does not overpower the senses but merely entices you to have another sip. Perfect paired with your favorite lasagna, a seafood Alfredo or even wild game. You might also like to try it along with some asiago, a loaf of crusty French bread and your best dipping oil.
Norman Winery Pinot grigio
Once more in the spirit of warmer weather and summer, we bring you our newest white offering – Pinot grigio. This is a fantastic wine – floral, peach, apricot, licorice, and lichee nuts jump out of the glass and fill your senses. The mouth is well balanced, offering more of the nose, and good acidity balanced by just a touch of sweetness. This is a great summer wine when served as an aperitif. It is the perfect accompaniment to shellfish or Thai food, or even paired with a melon or fruit salad course during a long meal.
Norman Winery Sangiovese
We’ve made our Sangiovese in a lighter style perfect for spring through autumn. This is a fruit forward wine, showcasing the characteristics of Sangiovese with cherries and red fruit predominating in both the nose and the mouth. This is the perfect wine for picnics, or would make a very nice accompaniment to an assorted cheese platter.