The Glory of “Noble Rot”
The beneficial botrytis cinerea mold is one of nature’s most splendid gifts. With its help, we are able to produce some of the most stunning dessert wines in the world.
Brought on by the misty mornings along the Mosel, the botrytis mold draws water out of the affected grapes, leaving an ultra-concentrated nectar behind. We painstakingly separate these moldy grapes into three quality categories.
A luscious wine made from very ripe, clusters that are about 50 percent affected by botrytis, but only starting to shrivel. In the case of Erdener Prälat, our top vineyard, we use a gold capsule to designate an Auslese of extra-special distinction.
A rich, dense dessert wine made from fully botrytis-affected grapes that have shriveled about half way.
The pinnacle of dessert wines, TBA is an extraordinarily intense and complex wine made from grapes that have completely shriveled down to raisins.
These wines are quite rare. They are dependent on weather conditions, which determine whether botrytis wines will even be possible in a given year. And, because the grapes have been dried by botrytis, they yield very little juice. Producing these dessert wines is an expensive, labor-intensive process, but they are special gifts, worth every bit of the effort.