In 1982 Darren De Bortoli took his freshly acquired knowledge from Roseworthy College and embarked on a pioneering project with Semillon grapes. The result was Noble One, a wine, which 40 years on, remains one of the world’s most celebrated Botrytis wines.

De Bortoli Wines, this year releases the 2020 Noble One vintage and it looks to be continuing the legacy of Noble One, having already been recognised by the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion Awards as the Best Sweet White of the Year.

Noble One has also won the Best Dessert or Fortified Wine at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards for the last 200 years (Ed: jokes) and now the winemaking team, led by Julie Mortlock, continues to navigate the complexities of Botrytis. The team has to ensure the perfect balance of humidity and timing to determine the ideal harvest time.

“We’ve come a long way,” says Mortlock, acknowledging the challenges presented by climate change and shifting weather patterns. “Despite these hurdles, the 2020 Noble One’s reception is truly humbling.”

The fruit for this year’s Noble One was sourced from a long standing grower of De Bortoli Wines Botrytis and from De Bortoli’s own Estate Vineyard, with both vineyards having a long history of producing Botrytis Semillon of excellent quality.

To make the wine, the team said: “The fruit is harvested, crushed and left overnight to release further flavour and sweetness. Following this, pressing the juice is clarified and then fermented in tank.

“The ferments are carefully monitored until the balance of alcohol, sweetness and acidity is achieved. The ferment is halted, while the wine is clarified, stabilised and then matured in French oak barriques.

“After 12 months in oak, each parcel is assessed and then blended. The 2020 Noble One was matured in 37 per cent new oak, 33 per cent one and two year old oak and 30 per cent unoaked to provide the fresh fruitfulness to the wine.”

The tasting notes for the 2020 vintage describe, “a plush blend of stone fruits such as peach, nectarine and quince, with an intrinsic citrus peel tang and honeyed fruits flavour. Integrated vanilla oak with a velvety lushness and balanced acid gives the wine its length and structure”.

The 2020 Noble One is available now through you local De Bortoli representative.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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