A nagging conversation pops up at home every now and again. My Scandinavian wife can’t cope with “candy” in the UK (I can’t cope with the word “candy”, but let’s not get into that now!). For her it’s way too sweet. Living over here she misses her salty liquorice and extra sours. Point being is that we clearly have a collectively sweet tooth in this country. But weirdly, we don’t drink all that much sweet wine…
In the case of sweet wines made using noble rot, maybe it has something to do with the price and availability. As I was saying last time it can be tricky to get the rot to happen in the first place, and then pretty labour intensive to make the wine at the end. Even in the most famous areas in the world for these kinds of wines, it doesn’t happen every year.
For noble rot to take hold, you need warm sunny afternoons and cool misty mornings throughout the end of the growing season. Mostly you’ll find the vineyards close to some water to make sure the moisture gets the rot going.
The most famous place for the “noble rots” is one we mentioned last week. Tokaji in Hungary. The world’s first protected wine, gracing tables of the rich and famous throughout the world since the 1500s. Rot tends to happen more often that not given the consistency of mists from Lake Balaton.
In Germany and Austria they make some great examples. These are seriously expensive though due to their relative scarcity. Beerenauslese (BA) and Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) wines won’t be produced every year.
Sauternes in Bordeaux is another famous district. It’s where the streams of the Garonne hit slow moving parts and bring in the mist. But again though, many years the producers have to rely on letting grapes raisin instead of letting them rot.
The one great thing about the future of this is that the new world producers are going after it. One of my picks is a NZ effort from the Ned producers. If these guys start to get it right, then at least the volume will increase. It’ll still cost a few quid to get the pickers to get the grapes in, but it’ll be easier to get hold of.
In the mean time we’ll have to just enjoy our 375ml bottles!
Other posts in NWTW Week 20
The completely disgusting Turkish Pepper sweets the Scandies go nuts for! (wikipedia)