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Posts Tagged ‘botrytis’

Vendange Tardive (von-donje tar-deev) literally meaning ‘late harvest,’ this refers to wines made from grapes that were left on the vines longer than those that were harvest normally. It can only be used for wines from Alsace. What happens in this case is that the grapes shrivel and look like small raisins. They may or may not be affected by the noble rot Botrytis but the resulting wine is always concentrated and very rich. It is usually sweet but can also sometimes be practically dry.

Grapes beginning to shrivel when left late on a vine.

Grapes beginning to shrivel when left late on a vine.

This style of wine (indicated by a V.T. on the label) is similar to other wine from Alsace in that it is usually full-bodied, elegant and rich. It is often a perfect match to rich meat dishes like duck and pork and goes very well with foie gras if it is a sweet style.

Hugel et Fils, Trimbach and Zind Humbrecht are 3 VERY renowned producers from Alsace who make excellent V.T. styles, usually sweet. Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer V.T. wines are intriguing and wonderfully aromatic. V.T. Rieslings are often pricey and incredibly age-worthy.

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Botrytis: a fungal disease that can affect grape vines, particularly in warm, moist, humid conditions. The bad form of the disease is also known as ‘grey rot’ because it turns the grape bunch a dull grey colour. The benevolent form of the disease is known as ‘noble rot’ because even though the fungus attacks ripe white grapes, it does not impart a bad flavour to them. In fact, by making holes in the grape berries, water from the grapes is able to evaporate, leaving only concentrated, sweet grape juice, from which extremely sweet (or dry, robust) wine can be produced.

Wines produced from botrytis-affected grapes tend to have a rich, marmalade/orange-peel nose with confected citrus and honeyed aromas. Dry wines can sometimes be produced from botrytised grapes. Sauternes is an example of a style of wines produced from botrytised grapes.

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