In my last post, Part 2, The Riverina Shines with Some of the Best Botrytised Wines!, I talked about the wonderful botrytis semillons being produced in the Riverina, but I didn’t want to give you the impression that winemakers in different regions of Australia aren’t making excellent botrytised wines in other varieties.
In fact, at this year’s International Sweet Wine Challenge, the winner of both the Best Young Sweet – Other Varieties and Blends and International Sweet Wine of the Year was the Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier 2009 (rrp. $21.95), made by senior winemaker Peter Gambetta.
As was discussed in Viognier: A Difficult Grape makes a Great Wine!, viognier makes a very aromatic and full-bodied wine. In fact, Jancis Robinson refers to it as ‘the hedonist’s white grape variety’. No wonder it’s a perfect candidate for sweet, full flavoured botrytis wine. But as Robinson also rightly observes, it is often ‘the vitner’s headache’ – temperamental, low yields and slow development of its characteristic heady aromas challenge even the most experienced vitner. (Viognier by Jancis Robinson, JancisRobinson.com, 3 September 2008)
Yalumba, the first winery to plant viognier in Australia thirty years ago, has demonstrated that with ingenuity and persistence very fine viognier can be made in Australia even of the botrytised kind.
Wrattonbully in the Limestone Coast area in the south eastern part of South Australia provides the ideal climate for Yalumba’s botrytis viognier. Fruit ripens naturally with high sugar and flavours in the warm summer. Vines are grown to encourage a dense canopy, as it reduces air flow and encourages the infection and growth of botrytis cinerea, which is initiated and sustained by the dewy, cool mornings and sunny days of the long autumn. The grapes are difficult to press and several pressings are required to liberate all of the viscous nectar. High sugar juices are hard to ferment so a special yeast strain is used.
The result is a wine that offers an enticing,.. [Read More]