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Wine Smarts: What Is Noble Rot? Brian Reeder and Pavle Milic Hit Scottsdale to See If Anyone Knows

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Welcome to Vine Geeks, where Brian Reeder and Pavle Milic of AZ Wine Merchants take the drinking game quite seriously. Pay attention -- you might just learn something.

The question: What is Noble Rot?

The answers: hilarious.

Now what is noble rot? Bear with the geeky stuff...

Also known as botrytis cinerea, noble rot is a specific fungus that affects grapes late in the growing season while still on the vine. Climatic conditions have to be at a certain moisture level in order for the rot to occur, meaning only certain regions can be affected by the fungus.

Essentially the grapes are turned partially into raisins while still on the vine, concentrating the sugars and sweetening the grapes. If picked at the proper time (sometimes one grape at a time), these grapes produce arguably the best sweet wines in the world.

Some of the most notable and common regions known for botrytized wines are:

  • Tokay from Hungary
  • Sauternes from France
  • Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany and Austria.

If the thought of drinking a wine affected by fungus grosses you out, just think about it next time you're enjoying a mushroom, or truffle, or cheese, or bread made with yeast! So next time you're making dessert or a having a little cheese plate, grab a half bottle of this sweet and complex juice to pair it with.

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