Graham ‘The Nose’ Norton is about to release his sixth vintage of Graham Norton’s Own SauviGNon Blanc with Kiwi producers Invivo, and he’s taken this year’s blending session to a whole new level by inviting international wine expert Joe Fattorini to join in the fun.
Every year after vintage, New Zealand-based Invivo Co-founders Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne travel across the pond for a hands-on day of sampling and blending where Graham determines the final wine blend.
For the first time ever, the tight team extended an exclusive invitation to wine media guru Joe Fattorini to join their renowned annual wine blending session that’s recorded on camera; the annual release of Norton’s blending session videos are as eagerly anticipated by GN wine drinkers as the wines themselves.
Joe – who has over 30 years of experience in the wine industry – was blown away by Graham’s wine knowledge when he took part in the session, held in London this May: “The blending process Graham and the Invivo boys go through is exactly what you’d see at any winery in the world – this is real winemaking, by people who care deeply about what they’re doing.”
And Norton clearly knows what he’s doing. His personally blended wines, which include GN Rosé, GN Shiraz and GN Prosecco, have won over 50 medals including four trophies from the UK’s People’s Choice Awards, Gold at the Global Sauvignon Masters and Gold at the Prosecco Masters. US publications Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator have awarded the Graham Norton Sauvignon 90 points and the wine has been chosen for Qantas Business class. Plus, the chat show host is set to launch a London Dry style and Pink Irish GiN in NZ later this year.
So, how is this year’s vintage looking, from the Irish comedian himself? Norton admits that the 2019 blending session was hard work thanks to the quality of the wines, “A standout vintage in Marlborough, New Zealand, meant it was tough to pick winners from this year’s vineyard samples.”
Invivo & Co winemaker Rob Cameron says, “It was a fascinating experience inviting such an established member of the wine industry into the room for this year’s winemaking session. It really highlights that, after six years collaborating with us, Graham has nailed his own winemaking style and can produce genuinely good wines that are award winners.
With just 14,000 bottles of the Graham Norton range produced in 2014, this year’s vintage will top 3.5million bottles. Graham Norton’s Own Wines are now enjoyed by people in ten countries including NZ, Australia, Canada, UK and Ireland, the US, Norway, Denmark, Hong Kong and Japan.