Tag: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2006

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!

The most acclaimed botrytised wines are the French Sauternes and in particular the ethereal wines of Chateau D’Yquem, the only Sauternes to be recognised as Premier Cru Grande Superieur (Great First Growth) in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855.

The climate of the tiny Sauternes appellation is the key ingredient: early-morning moisture late in the growing season engenders the development of mould on the grapes, activating dormant spores of Botrytis cinerea. Providing the mists evaporate each day, drying out the vines and their fruit, the mould will tend towards noble rot rather than the soddy grey rot, which happens if the weather stays too damp. The noble rot  desiccates the grapes one-by-one, concentrating the sugars as the water evaporates without developing any off-putting, mouldy flavours, and, in fact, contributing an appealing flavour all of its own.

The best Sauternes are generally made from two grape varieties: semillon,and sauvignon blanc.  At Chateau d’Yquem, the grapes are picked by hand at least six times during the harvest season to ensure that only the botrytised grapes are selected.

In general, great Sauternes are characterised by their complexity, balance, opulence, vibrancy and a relatively high acidity that helps to balance the … Read the rest

Nov 11 2010

A Brilliant BYO Dinner!

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

If you love great wine and food, one of life’s great pleasures is to organise a group dinner at a favourite restaurant that allows BYO, and ask each of the diners to bring one of their best bottles.

On Thursday night we attended such a dinner at the fine French restaurant La Grande Bouffe in Rozelle. Organised by my husband’s Food and Wine Society, I knew the wine selections were going to be pretty good (the table captain had been in touch with key members of our table in advance of the evening) but, wow, what a wonderful night of wine imbibing!

We started with a bottle of Perrier-Jouet Champagne 1998. Fresh and still fruity with delicate citrus and floral aromas and deliciously fine bubbles, it was the perfect accompaniment to the canapes of natural oysters with a champagne vinaigrette, fish tartare on fine toast and pork roulard with celeraic salsa.

Before the entrees arrived, we moved on to the Domain Christian Moreau Pere et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon 2006. This wine comes from a very young domain: the Christian Moreau family only reclaimed the grand cru-rich acreage for the family in 2002, and Christian and his winemaker son Fabien have already done a very good job in restoring the Domaine’s reputation as a leading producer in the region.

The 2006 Vaillon Chablis is made from vines planted by Guy Moreau in 1932. It was already excellent but will probably benefit with more cellar age, which will soften the slight steely edge. The stone fruit, apricot in particular, and lime citrus flavours were balanced by lanolin in the finish. It worked well with my twice baked wonderfully light leak and goat cheese souflee and my husband’s deliciously succulent bacon wrapped scallops on braised mushrooms with a mustard jus.

Now … Read the rest