A year less noble

De Bortoli wines weather vintage 2012 without their flagship wine

Media release
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De Bortoli Wines Bilbul

De Bortoli Wines Bilbul


Three decades after Darren De Bortoli first stunned the wine world with the extraordinary Noble One Botrytis Semillon, a challenging summer of extreme weather instigated by the La Niña phenomenon has put to rest the production of a 2012 vintage of his flagship wine.

Referring to the unprecedented summer rainfalls, which flooded the Riverina vineyards that produce the wine’s prized grapes, Noble One’s current custodian, Senior Executive Winemaker, Julie Mortlock says, “patience and the hands of Mother Nature are the key to producing exceptional Botrytis Semillon, but she had other ideas this vintage.”

Access was heavily restricted to the key vineyards, which were submerged for weeks in the wake of the devastating summer floods, whilst the ensuing humid conditions caused the Botrytis Cinerea and other moulds to move in rampantly. “By the time we were able to access the vineyards, the non-Botrytis moulds were such that they would have had a very negative impact on the quality of the wine, whilst the Botrytis had dehydrated the fruit to such an extent that there was just no juice remaining.”

The extraordinary result of careful nurturing in the vineyard and furtive blending techniques, Noble One has always been the quintessential expression of quality. Botrytis “needs the right weather conditions to become noble,” says Julie, explaining that the early morning humidity provided by foggy mornings and the warm Riverina environment allows the botrytis mould to “work its magic” on the Semillon grapes by dehydrating the juice and concentrating the flavours and sugars.

In the years since its initial release, Noble One has been awarded more than 119 Trophies and 381 Gold medals at both Australian and international wine shows, and whilst 2012 is just the second time that De Bortoli Wines has been unable to produce it due to unexpected and extreme weather patterns, as one of Australia’s truly iconic Australian wines, it still holds its own. “The world will wait,” says Julie, “they have been loyal to this wine since 1982 and the next release will hold even greater anticipation amongst wine aficionados everywhere. I can’t wait to get back into the vineyards.”

De Bortoli Wines has produced 27 vintages of Noble One, with the 2009 Noble One Botrytis Semillon, released in late 2011 to critical acclaim. Julie Mortlock says there will be no impact on future vintages of Noble One and says whilst “Mother Nature still has the final say,” she is looking forward to more predictable conditions for vintage 2013 and to return to making “the wine I go to work for”.


  • Riverina (wine) (NSW)

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June 07th, 2012
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