Sound strange doesn’t it to call a rot noble. But that is exactly what it is. Noble rot or to use its Latin name, Botrytis Cinerea, is a remarkable phenomenon without which many of the world’s greatest sweet wines simply would not exist.
Noble rot, if the weather conditions permit, attacks healthy white grapes, drying them out and changing their chemistry which results in a dreadful looking bunch of really sweet raisins. These dried up grapes produce delicious and complex (could not think of a better word) sweet (dessert) wines which are capable of very long ageing. One of the most wines being Sauternes from Bordeaux in France.
Unusually, not all the grapes on a single bunch are affected in the same way at the same time so the vine picker often has to make several journeys through the vineyard, checking and checking again. These Noble rotted grapes are only harvested by hand and generally on a grape to grape basis, which of course means that the wine produced has taken up plenty of labour and production costs. But to wait for something so delightfully sweet and balanced is well worth it. A bit more expensive than many table wines and often only produced in half bottles but well worth it.
Go on, search out some.
Here are a few to give you a start: Sauternes (France) Tokaji (Hungary) Trockenbeerenauslese (Germany)