I love it when friends think of me and bring me something that they loved. I have an awesome friend / Broadway actress who is just that kind of person. She hails from Michigan and when she visited the wineries in the Old Mission Peninsula of Lake Michigan, she brought me back a bottle of Chateau Grand Traverse Botrytis Chardonnay 2013.
This wine is AMAZING not only because my friend gave it to me, but because it just is. December is upon us and many of you will be putting out fancy appetizer plates of dried fruit, nuts, pate, and cheese and wondering what to pair it with that is unique. THIS WINE IS PERFECT! Or, you are looking for an after dinner wine to serve with your already sweet dessert? PERFECT! Wine pairing 101 – pair sugary foods with a wine that has even greater sugar. This luscious beauty does that plus packs in some mouth watering acidity to cleanse the palate and prep you for that next bite.
What makes this wine special? A funky little thing called Noble Rot, which is the Botrytis Cinerea. Noble Rot is a good fungus that happens when a late harvest is possible and the climate yields cool misty mornings with sun burning off the fog in the warm, sunny day. The Noble Rot pricks the grapes skin, evaporating the grapes, concentrating the acids and sugars in the grape, making for very intense flavor. Noble Rot is a special event that does not happen every year and also does not happen in many parts of the world.
Enjoy being Nobly Rotted away with this Michigan Botrytis Chardonnay from Chateau Grand Traverse. This Michigan wine can be tricky to procure outside of the state, but now that you know about Noble Rot you could substitute it with another sweet wine like a Muscadelle or a Semillon/Sauvignon blend from Bordeaux, Australia or California.
Tasting Note: deep golden colored, sweet wine with pronounced aromas and flavors of dried apricots and peaches, tropical notes of pineapple, a kick of ginger spice and honey. The high acidity balances out to the sugar and this sweet wine is luscious without being syrupy. Higher in alcohol (you can feel some residual heat in the back of the mouth), but overall very nicely balanced with a long finish. Would recommend drinking now, but can age for a few more years.
Pairing Note: Can be used as both an appetizer wine as well as a dessert wine. For appetizer, would pair with the classic cheese plate that consists of blue cheese or a hard Alpine accompanied by dried fruits, nuts, toasts, breads, crackers and honey. For dessert, would pair with a robust sweet dessert and envision something like a chocolate lava cake being divine with this wine.
Swirl, sip, sigh.
Old Mission and White Grapes at Chateau Grand Traverse. Photograph by Jeremy Bronson licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 available by click here.
Other photos are personal photographs by Mommelier.