Category Archives: Botrytised Wine

Nov 11 2010

Botrytis Viognier: Worth Hunting for!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

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, complex and fragrant bouquet with opulent flavours of apricots,.. [Read More]

Nov 11 2010

Part 2, The Riverina Shines with Some of the Best Botrytised Wines!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In my previous post, Botrytised Dessert Wines: Part 1, The Alchemy Process!, I mentioned how important climate was for activating the dormant spores of botrytis cinera on the grapes to create the noble rot that is necessary for making wonderfully fragrant and flavourful sweet wine.

Fortunately, Australia’s Riverina shares many climatic similarities with Sauternes, the celebrated French sweet wine region and home of one of the most famous wines in the world, Chateau D’Yquem.

Like Sauternes, the Riverina experiences early morning frost and fog late in the growing season,.. [Read More]

Nov 11 2010

Botrytised Dessert Wines: Part 1, The Alchemy Process!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

After the sublime experience of imbibing De Bortoli’s Noble One Botrytised Semillon 2006 at our wine tasting dinner last week, I was keen to learn more about how these magical botrytised dessert wines, which had delighted Thomas Jefferson in the 18th century, are made.

Possibly one of the most intriguing aspects of botrytised wines are the grapes used in their production. They are infected by noble rot – a fungus that attacks the fruit, absorbing water and shriveling the skins. The grapes look bloody awful but the best give forth an amazing liquid that has been described as nectar for the gods!.. [Read More]