Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

noble rot, also known as pourriture noble in French, Edelfaüle in German, muffa in Italian, and sometimes simply as botrytis, is the benevolent form of botrytis bunch rot, in which the Botrytis cinerea fungus attacks ripe, undamaged white wine grapes and, given the right weather, can result in extremely sweet grapes which may look disgusting but have undergone such a complex transformation that they are capable of producing probably the world’s finest, and certainly the longest-living, sweet wines. Indeed, the defining factor of a great vintage for sweet white wine in areas specializing in its production is the incidence of noble rot. The malevolent form, which results if the grapes are damaged, unripe, or conditions are unfavourable, is known as grey rot.