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Wine of the month: Black Noble 10 Year Old (50cl)

Black Noble 10 Year Old (50cl)

Created by Darren De Bortoli, the Black Noble was inspired by a 1930s wine made by his grandfather, Vittorio De Bortoli who first established De Bortoli Wines in 1928. Vittorio immigrated with his wife Giuseppina to Australia from Northern Italy and started a vineyard. His son Deen De Bortoli expanded the winery and, with his children’s help, established De Bortoli’s reputation for premium wine, including their iconic dessert wine, Noble One.

First created by Darren at the family winery in Bilbul in 1982, Noble One has gone on to be one of the most awarded wines in history, garnering more than 130 trophies and 406 Gold medals both nationally and internationally.

Black Noble 10 Year Old (50cl)
Black Noble 10 Year Old (50cl)

Winemaking techniques vary and depend on the style of wine being made. Deen was a member of the Vine Improvement Society and very active in the management of the company vineyards. He was also a member of in the MIA Sustainable Development Committee, concerned with land management issues including salinity control, drainage, recycling, and the streamlining of irrigation systems. Today, all of his children are perpetuating the tradition with a “hand on” approach in the winery but “hands off” approach in the vineyard.

De Bortoli Wines has an extensive collection of aged wine stocks maturing in barrel. The winemakers draw from these barrels to blend premium fortified wines including the unique Black Noble.

The Black Noble is a fortified wine made using the same parcels harvested for the Noble One. Only the most botrytised Semillon grapes are picked in order to have intense and ripe botrytised flavours. The Black Noble is one of the only fortifieds on the market to be made from botrytis grapes. Very little fermentation occurs before fortification when a neutral grape spirit is added to inhibit further fermentation. The wine is then clarified and a touch of brandy is added for further complexity before being transferred into used Noble One barriques.

De Bortoli Wines has an extensive collection of aged wine stocks maturing in barrel
De Bortoli Wines has an extensive collection of aged wine stocks maturing in barrel

What is botrytis?

The berries are attacked by Noble Rot (aka botrytis), a natural fungus that allows for the production of the best sweet wines in the world. The fungus makes tiny holes in the grape skins, through which water evaporates, thus concentrating both the acid and the sugars in the grape.

In 2015, the Black Noble outclassed renowned brands from around the world to take out the ‘Best Fortified Worldwide’ trophy at the acclaimed Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition (HKIWSC) on Thursday 5 November.

Julie Mortlock, De Bortoli Wines’ Senior Winemaker, said: “These awards are a significant step in cementing De Bortoli Wines’ and the Riverina region’s reputation for producing multiple styles of delicious, quality yet affordable wines, but in particular those made from botrytis grapes.”

The Black Noble is one of the only fortifieds on the market to be made from botrytis grapes
The Black Noble is one of the only fortifieds on the market to be made from botrytis grapes

Julie produces both Black Noble and Noble One.

She added: “It’s fascinating to watch the Black Noble develop as it ages over 10 years in barriques previously used for Noble One. When the botrytised Semillon grapes are harvested for Noble One, a parcel of fruit at approximately 20 – 22 baume is selected to produce Black Noble’s intense sweet flavours. As the Hong Kong trophy recognises, Black Noble is the ideal end to a meal.”

Tasting notes:

Amber with olive green hue, the bouquet has hints of toffee, coffee, raisins and mandarin peel. Unique and delicious, the palate reveals rich raisin and dried date fruit with hints of citrus peel, toffee and caramel flavours. Concentrated and viscous, it displays a lingering aged complexity.

Best served with sticky date pudding. Try poured over vanilla ice cream or with a cheese platter after dinner.

£21.83 – thegeneralwine.co.uk