It’s a very pretty and lifted nose with fruit characters of fresh apple, mixed peel and rose petals with a spicy background of star anise, cinnamon sticks and a hint of white pepper.
The palate is lively and floral with yellow citrus flowers, green mango and barley sugar. The acidity is linear and spans the whole palate balancing the natural sugar nicely. There are restrained mineral fruit tannins which add a lovely textural element.
In it’s youth this wine is crisp and provides versatility when matching to a wide range of desserts. It works particularly well with elements containing fresh tropical fruits. As it ages it will take on a deeper colour and the flavour will develop further into the dried fruit spectrum making it a sensational match to strong cheeses.
Early May 1985 saw d’Arenberg’s first ‘Noble’ attempt when a series of biological events occurred in one of the Riesling vineyards which resulted in the introduction of ‘Botrytis cinerea’ mould.
Botrytis cinerea (or Noble Rot as it more affectionately known) weakens the skin of grapes causing the water inside the berry to evaporate. With the water evaporated the skins are wrinkled and the berries fall of sugar and nutrients.
Good winter rains ensured adequate sub-soil moisture and set the vines up well with healthy canopies. There was unseasonably hot weather during flowering, but this did not affect fruit setting and vigour was beautifully balanced.
There was some more heat during veraison which serves vines well. The rest of the season was mild with nights mild to cool with very little rain until the latter part of vintage. This precipitation combined with some warmer days served to get Botrytis cinerea (noble rot) going in certain vineyards.
The Botrytis fruit is some of the last to come in during vintage, in this case it was May.
Late harvesting took place by hand in small volumes when fruit flavours and the Botrytis cinerea was at an optimal point. The grapes were gently crushed before receiving a small amount of skin contact. The juice was separated via the gentle process of basket pressing.
Fermentation occurred in a number of small tanks using neutral yeast to cope with the high natural sugar levels and to avoid dominating the fruit characters. The fermentation stopped naturally, retaining a considerable level of residual sugar.
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