2021 BOTRYTIS SEMILLON
Like many great things, this one was created accidentally. We started making this dessert style wine back in 1999 mainly because our Semillon vines had bumper yields that year, so we left a block out, unpicked as we literally ran out of tanks in the winery. In the meantime, the grapes became infected with the fungus botrytis cinerea which is the classic ‘noble rot’ responsible for many of the great sweet wines of the world. At the time, Andrew had reservations about making this technical and specialised style, but he went with his intuition, and the finished wine was great. He made it again the next year, this time on purpose and the wine went on to win a trophy for Best Sweet Wine at the Decanter Wine Awards in London. We have made it ever since and it has won more trophies and medals for Margan than any other wine.
With much welcomed spring rain in 2020 we saw excellent canopy balance through all vineyards for our 2021 vintage. A mild summer allowed for excellent acid retention and a long ripening period resulting in elegant fruit character and seamless acid balance in white wines coming from 2021. Some late February moisture provided excellent conditions for Botrytis to grow on the Semillon block we had left out for this wine.
We have one unique block of Semillon vines on our Timbervines Vineyard which can create the right humidity conditions to allow the fungus Botrytis Cinerea to grow. We leave these grapes out for a month and a half later than we would for dry Semillon and this allows for extra ripeness and sugars to accumulate up to 24 baumé. Semillon grapes have thin skins which make them susceptible to Botrytis growth which covers each berry as a mould, draws out water and concentrates the sugar and acidity. Nature makes all these decisions for this wine and it changes each year depending on the vintage conditions. We picked the fruit for this wine the first week of March two weeks after we had harvested all of our reds.
The grapes come into the winery and are crushed and de-stemmed. They go into the press to gently extract the juice over a 12 hour press cycle. The juice then undergoes a long, cool fermentation. We stop fermentation when the residual sugar is approximately 11 baumé and bottle straight away to maintain freshness. Unlike sweet wines of other regions, we don’t use oak to mature the wine.
True to the style of classic sweet wines this one has a luscious palate with apricot marmalade, honeysuckle and pineapple. The finish is long and refreshing with citrus notes. It is a beautifully balanced wine.
Titratable Acidity 10.4 g/L
Alcohol 10 %
Residual Sugar 200 g/L
50 years / Busby
Pork rillette with toasted brioche, cornichons and pickled radish