SCV Botrytis Chardonnay
As a Winemaker, I have always been fascinated with Botrytis wines. Famed in Europe for many centuries, the exotic and concentrated character owes the mold Botrytis cinerea, otherwise known as the “noble rot”. This organism requires very specific conditions to remain in the state referred to as “noble”, among them are very cool nights and periodic moisture at the very correct time of the grape cluster development.
Exploring the coolest regions of Sonoma County, and in the case for this wine, Coastal Mendocino, the one vineyard I was able to find this Noble form was here on Manchester Ridge, a vineyard that literally overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The “noble” form of Botrytis causes the skins of the berries to lose their permeability and water, thus concentrating the grapes while adding a flavor many refer to as “honey, pineapple” and black Chanterelle mushrooms. The grapes were night harvested and soaked for up to 3 days at the winery to extract the flavors and sugars of the raisined berries. After pressing, the wines were very slowly fermented in French Oak barrels.
If you are patient, this wine is very capable of aging and improving with bottle age for decades to come. If not, you can enjoy it now.