Botrytised is the word of the day on this Wine Wednesday. Botrytised grapes are wine grapes affected by a grey fungus known as “grey rot”. The fungus grows in wet humid conditions and in some cases it can destroy crops. When the humid conditions are followed by drier cooler weather conditions it can cause the grapes to become partially shriveled or raisined. When picked at a certain time during infestation, the grapes can result in particularly concentrated and intense wines most often sweet dessert wines like Sauternes. In desirable situations like this, the condition has come to be referred to as “noble rot”.
The 2011 Morillon Blanc unlike the typical wines affected by botrytised grapes is a dry wine. This wine comes to us from winemaker Jeff Carrel who doesn’t have a vineyard or a winery. He buys small parcels of grapes, those for this wine from a special parcel in the Languedoc region in the south of France known as “garde miel” (honey pot) then rents cellar space and make his wines.
This wine is 100% Morillon (another name for Chardonnay) though I find this to be unlike any other Chardonnay I’ve had before. The color, indicative of being made from botrytised grapes, is a deep intense golden color. The nose struck me like aromatherapy, stimulating the senses with floral notes as well as honey, melon and spicy pear. The wine starts slightly sweet on the tongue followed by a silky round mouth feel then a juicy delightful acidity as you swallow followed by a long finish with lingering notes on the top of your palate of toffee and caramel. The evolution in the tasting of this wine was really quite exciting – what an adventure! Each time I went back new notes seemed to present themselves.
Because of the nature of this wine, though it is a white wine, I would consider it a full-bodied wine. Try with strong cheeses and creamy pasta dishes like my Prosciutto Pasta Roulade or Scallops with Fettuccine Alfredo. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.