What Makes Sauterne Wine Unique And Why You Should Try It Once
Sauterne wine is a broad phrase applied to wines taken from the grapes grown in the Sauternais region of France. It is very unique in that the fermentation process starts before the grapes are ever harvested. In many cases, the grapes used are intentionally exposed to a natural agent that causes the grapes to begin rotting on the vine. Before you turn up your nose at this, here is why this process is unique and why you should try the Sauterne wine just once.
Noble Rot Exposure
In this particular region of France there is a disease that attacks grape vines known as noble rot. It is a gray fungus that causes grapes to begin to rot on the vine. For wines from the Sauternais region, this is a very common occurrence. However, vintners in the region learned a long time ago how to make the fungus work for them.
The fungus appears on the grapes when conditions are extremely wet. If conditions stay wet, the harvest is destroyed. If conditions turn really dry, the fungus becomes rot, and the grapes begin to turn into raisins on the vines. Thus, the vintners allow the fungus to invade the vineyards but make sure things dry up quickly. Then the "raisins" are harvested and pressed into juice before fermenting into wine.
This region of France frequently experiences bouts of the gray fungus. It is one of the very few places in the world where this fungus seems to thrive and take over. Rather than try to combat it, vintners here developed ways to use it to their advantage and still save enough of the harvest to make wine.
Why You Should Try a Sauterne Wine Just Once
There are a number of reasons why you should try a wine from this region of France just once. First and foremost, it is a truly French wine from France. Secondly, its very unique fermentation process via the noble rot gives it a more distinct and robust flavor because the grapes-turned-raisins actually concentrate the flavors of the three kinds of grapes used to make it. Thirdly, you cannot count yourself a true amateur wine expert if you refuse to try every wine just once. Since all wines are made from fermentation processes anyway, turning away a wine because it was made from rotting grapes is hardly a good reason to avoid tasting this French treat.