Tuesday, September 12, 2006
A Noble Rot
Top, Botrytis Cinerea infects Viognier. Left, unaffected Viognier, one week from harvest.
this week we have discovered the wet ernesto conditions and possibly the hornet infestation has allowed a mold to invade the naturally tightly clustered Viognier. Botrytis cinerea is Latin for "grapes like ashes" and the mold spores covering the infected berries really gives that impression. Botrytis infects grapes in two ways: grey rot (consistently wet field conditions) or noble rot, (late harvest wet field conditions that then turn to dry). our southern maryland vineyard is in a notoriously dry area and there wasn't much rain after ernesto--so we believe we have noble rot. i've seen botrytis on strawberries in our little strawberry patch at home and there is nothing noble about that mold on a strawberry. gerald is a bit excited, though. noble rot dries up the water in the grape berry, leaving a concentration of flavors and sugars, balanced by the also greatly increased fruit acid levels. when done correctly, intensely flavored dessert wines are created from these infected grapes. among the types of grapes that react well to noble rot are chenin blanc, tokay, furmint, gewurztraminer, riesling, and sauvignon blanc. we are going to test our nobly-rotted viognier to see what it might make. gerald has harvested 70lbs of the infected bunches, leaving behind the unaffected bunches--and crossing his fingers for a clean harvest this upcoming weekend. for a great deal more information, visit this site, its totally worth the perusal. http://www.thewinedoctor.com/author/sweetnoble.shtml wait 'til you read my next post...