Tuesday, 14 May 2013

d'Arenberg's Botryotinia Fuckeliana - Yes It Really Is Called That

My hands are up, yes, I am a foodie, and yes, I love wine (a given for Vinspire crew). The best part about these two things? Finding a heavenly wine match for something you've made yourself - it's divine, and such a joy, that everyone will hear about it...sorry!

So I'd had a bottle of the amazingly-named d'Arenberg Bortrytinia Fuckeliana in my garage for six months, but having collected three other dessert wines in that time, decided it simply needed to be opened. What better time then to try my hand at attempting a new dessert? I don't claim to be an amazing pastry chef, but after the simplistic ease of making of an apple tarte tatin, I am converted, it's my new "thing". And what's more, the Fuckeliana (yes, it is called that for a reason, see details below) was an absolute perfect match.

One of my favourite producers, d'Arenberg's wine are always fun, full of character and never disappoint me (South Aussie = slightly biased?!)

This one is rich, sweet, syrupy and mouthfilling, packed with apricot and marmalade flavours. The low alcohol (7.5%) means it's not too heady (perfect for the end of dinner parties!), but there isn't an awful lot of acid to balance all the sweetness, making it a teeny bit cloying on the palate. However, with all this sweetness, comes a subtle fruit character of gooseberry, green apples and mixed peel - perfect for matching with desserts. I hereby confirm, and I'm sure my boyfriend will agree, that this indulgent, decadent wine was a beautiful match with the rich, buttery caramel of my tarte tatin! 

You could also try it with a silky bread and butter pudding dotted with with juicy raisins, or a lemon and lime tart to bring out the citrus character in the wine.  Either will be a treat for this lucsious beauty, but be sure to pop it in the fridge a little before serving - it needs to be chilled to take of the sticky edge, but too cold and it can ruin the subtle characters in the wine.

Soooo, what is Bortrytinia Fuckeliana? Botryotinia fuckeliana is a plant pathogen and the causal agent of the more widely known Botrytis cinerea, which affects grape vines. Botrytis cinerea is affectionately known as ‘noble rot’ because it’s responsible for making beautiful dessert wines. It weakens the skin of grapes allowing the water inside to evaporate. 

This leaves behind sugar and nutrients which results in very sweet wines with concentrated flavours. Paradoxically to the lewd sounding name, Botryotinia fuckeliana is an asexual spore, named after German botanist, Karl Wilhelm Gottlieb Fuckel. (With thanks for this explanation to d'Arenberg's incredibly informative website!)

The unfortunate news is that this doesn't appear to be available currently in the UK (it seems I was lucky enough to snatch up a bottle from a little parcel at The Wine Society last year). It was just too good not to share it with you - but if you contact your merchant of choice they may be able to nab their paws on future vintages.

 I have also tried all (yes, I know!) of d'Arenberg's dessert delights and would also thoroughly recommend d'Arenberg's The Noble Prankster - a Chardonnay Semillion sweetie and just as luscious, unctuous and sticky. Full of exotic fruit, there are hints of grapefruit, lemons, limes  and melons, all nicely balanced by a bit of acidity. The Fine Wine Company has a really great selection of d'Arenberg wines, including three sweets, and a half bottle of The Noble Prankster, 2010 is just £11.95 - well worth every penny!

So if you want to break away from the conventional Sauternes with pudding, and impress friends with something a little more fun, look out for the tell-tale red stripe and pick up a d'Arenberg.

Cheers sweeties!

Do you know of any other hidden dessert delights? If so, we want to know!


  1. Great article - I love using Pineau des Charentes, particularly the rouge with rich chocolate dishes - deep port-like flavours but lighter and served chilled (and it's relatively cheap - Ch. de Beaulon is very pleasantly priced for such a good wine)

    Matt Silver

  2. Sounds delicious Matt, a real good match!
    I want to go and eat every pudding in the world now...

  3. Thanks Matt - sweet wine is my new 'thing' so excited to try your recommendations.

    1. I'd totally forgotten I'd managed to pick up a bottle of this - I'll be nicking your tarte tatin recipe, then... ;-)