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5 June 2017

‘The rot’ that hit the record at Decanter

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*Guest post on by Andrei Cibotaru, author of FineWine blog

The record earned by the Republic of Moldova at Decanter World Wine Awards was overlooked by many people. But even less know that these achievements, besides craftsmanship and winemaker, are backed by… a fungus, with the popular common sense ‘Noble rot’.

Chardonnay dulce alb 2013 Chateau Vartely was awarded the Decanter platinum medal, winning 96 points – the first wine in the Republic of Moldova reaching such a high note in one of the biggest world wine competition. In other words, the wine got ‘excellent’ to most of categories: clarity, visual aspect, aroma and flavor.

‘A mixture of flavors of ripe apple, pear, melon and a light note of cinnamon, followed by a perfect, delicious and refreshing taste acidity’, Decanter tasters described the wine. An extraordinary note for wine made from Chardonnay – the world is full of this vinified variety in dozens of hypostases.

But, the technology of the success was not that simple. The grapes were harvested at full maturity, deliberately left to be affected by a fungus – Botrytis cinerea. Its popular common sense is the ‘Noble rot’, which is a rot making grapes dehydrate almost entirely. The sugar becomes thus more concentrated, and the rot changes the acidity inside the grapes. They are only harvested manually. The technology supposes a certain risk: you can either lose the whole harvest, or make an emblematic wine, which the Chateau Vartely winemaker managed to do to the last. If paraphrasing a famous Russian say: who doesn’t risk, never gets to drink a good wine!

Besides, Chardonnay dulce alb won several times, being one of the most awarded wines of Chateau Vartely. Grand Gold at IWCB 2016 (Romania), Wine of The Show at Mundus Vini (Germany), Wine of The Show at Vintage Wine Festival (Great Britain) – these are only a few of medals won during the ‘super tough’ league; it won so many medals you do not have so many fingers to count.

And I’m going to risk assuming that the epic of this wine does not end here. Chardonnay dulce alb has an increased aging potential for glass, from 10 to 30 years, so I probably did not even know the maximum evolution potential. We shall see what the history will further write!

It should be served chilled (+8 +10 ℃), with noble cheese or tarts – but even better – without anything. This wine deserves to be discovered in combination with no other flavors, as mentioned the Decanter jury: ‘a wine that simply makes you try it again and again’.