“Noble rot” refers to a fungus that transforms white wine grapes into “misshapen brown blobs,” said Thom Elkjer in Wine Enthusiast. Called Botrytis cinerea, it dessicates the grapes used to make “lusciously textured, deeply sweet” wines that can be truly sublime. Here are three we highly recommend, with ratings based on our 100-point scoring system.
Schloss Johannisberger 2006 Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Goldlack (Rheingau) (97, $486 for 375 ml) “Late-harvest botrytis wines perhaps reach their pinnacle” in Germany’s steep river valleys. “Almost chewy in texture,” this incredibly sweet wine has a fascinating flavor of dried apricots and citrus. “The finish lasts for minutes.”
Château de Fesles 2005 Bonnezeaux (93, $41 for 375 ml) France’s Bordeaux region creates two famed botrytis wines made with Sémillon grapes—Sauternes and Barsac. In the Loire Valley, sweet wine is made with Chenin Blanc. This “great sweet Chenin” is a “superb dessert wine” that will also age well.
De Bortoli 2006 Noble One Botrytis Sémillon (New South Wales) (93, $32 for 375 ml) Completely natural botrytis wines are rare in Australia, but winemakers artificially induce botrytis. This honey-colored wine delivers “a complex array of flavors balanced with decent acidity.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women
Subscribe to the Week