Botrytis Cinerea; a Marvellous Mistake!
One folklore tale explains how botrytis cinerea came into being.
In the late 18th century, growers in a valley in Germany would wait for the bishop to bless the berries, before picking. But one year, the bishop forgot and failed to turn up nearly a month later. He still gave the vineyards his blessings and heartbroken farmers picked their rotten grapes.
It took considerable effort to produce enough juice to bottle but the result was a complex, sweet wine that was an unmistakable delight.
The tale goes on that the farmers always booked the bishop late.
It is a tantalising wait to pick the late autumn harvest at the Nehme Vineyard in Yenda, and suspenseful to watch a fresh crop of Semillon grapes succumb to the ravages of botrytis. Sugar levels and the botrytis flavour are monitored daily, to determine the optimum level of ripeness and the desired natural fermentation. The battle of elements is crucial; as humidity, sunlight and a little rain combine to result in the ‘right rot’, that creates this luscious golden nectar.