Tag: Chateau d’Yquem

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, allowing the all important botrytised mould to develop on the grapes. While the nights are cool, the warm, dry days when intermingled with just the right amount of humidity from light rains encourage the development of the noble rot.

Australia’s most lauded botrytised wine, De Bortoli Noble One, was one of the first botrytised wines produced in the Riverina and is still a benchmark for the style. Created by Darren De Bortoli at the family winery in Bilbul, this year the winery celebrated the 25th vintage of this famous wine with the release of the the 2007 vintage.

Since 2000 the wine has been made by De Bortoli  senior executive winemaker Julie Mockton. A blend of French oaked and un-oaked botrytis semillon, Noble One shares all the hallmarks of a great Sauternes. Typically bright gold in colour, this rich, opulent wine exhibits fresh and complex aromas ranging from peach, cumquat, nectarine and floral honey complemented with hints of well integrated sweet vanillin oak. The palate is rich, vibrant and luscious with layers of flavour including apricot, peach, citrus and subtle French oak.

Under the direction of winemaker Rob Fiumara, Lillypilly Estate also makes a very fine and reasonably priced sweet wine. The Lillypilly Estate Noble Blend 2008 (rrp $22.50), for example, is a rich and complex wine with just the right amount of acidity to balance the sweetness.

Other stand-out Riverina producers included Nugan Estate. Its Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon 2005 (rrp $20.95) was awarded 94 points by James Halliday and picked up the award for Best International Sweet Wine under 10 pounds at Decanter’s World Wine Awards in 2006… [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]

Nov 11 2010

Chenin Blanc: A Worthy Alternative to Sauvignon Blanc!

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

Dr Vino recently interviewed South African winemaker Ken Forrester, Talking Chenin Blanc with Ken Forrester of South Africa, 29 October 2010. The article caught my attention, because Forrester has made chenin blanc a specialty at his eponymous winery in Stellenborsch. I had tasted the Redgate Chenin Blanc 2010 and the Voyager Estate Chenin Blanc 2009 at the Margaret River in Sydney event last week, so I was keen to learn a little more about this aromatic and lively white wine.

In the interview Forrester explained his relationship with the grape: “It is like a cat: when you call it,.. [Read More]